Turkey monitoring 24 over yellow powder consulate scare

A vehicle belonging to Turkey's disaster management agency AFAD is seen in front of the U.S. consulate in Istanbul on Oct 24, 2014. Turkey is keeping 24 people under observation at clinics after a suspicious powder was sent to five consulates in
A vehicle belonging to Turkey's disaster management agency AFAD is seen in front of the U.S. consulate in Istanbul on Oct 24, 2014. Turkey is keeping 24 people under observation at clinics after a suspicious powder was sent to five consulates in Istanbul whose countries are involved in the coalition against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, the health ministry said on Saturday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Turkey is keeping 24 people under observation at clinics after a suspicious powder was sent to five consulates in Istanbul whose countries are involved in the coalition against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, the health ministry said on Saturday.

Previously, officials had said that 16 people had been hospitalised after the yellow powder was delivered to the consulates Friday. The nature of the substance is being examined by experts from Turkey's disaster management agency AFAD.

The 24 people under observation are being monitored at clinics specialising in infections and microbiology in Istanbul, the official Anatolia news agency quoted the health ministry as saying.

Their general condition is good, it added, without giving further details.

Five foreign citizens working for the consulates are being monitored, as are 19 Turkish citizens, the statement added.

Three foreigners and 15 Turks from the Canadian consulate are being monitored, along with two Turks and two foreigners from the German consulate and two Turks from the Belgian consulate, it said.

Turkish media reports said the additional staff reported hospitalised for monitoring on Saturday were chiefly employees of the Canadian consulate.

Powder was also sent to the US and French consulates in Istanbul but none of their workers have been hospitalised.

The results of tests on the samples of the yellow powder are due to be announced on Monday, Anatolia said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the incident came amid mounting concerns about the growing national security threat to Turkey and Western states posed by militants.

Turkey has been a major staging point for militants seeking to travel to Syria and fight for IS and other Islamist groups, although the government says it has now improved security.

All the countries whose consulates were targeted by the yellow powder are involved in the US-led coalition against IS.

Canada has been hit by two deadly attacks this week - a hit-and-run assault and a shooting at Canada's war memorial and parliament building.