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Port of Miami Closed Over Suspicious Package

Aired August 8, 2002 - 14:59   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: We want to update you on a breaking story out of Miami, at the Port of Miami, where Miami-Dade police and bomb sniffing teams are there because of a suspicious material that apparently turned up there.
We have got Mark Potter on the phone out of Miami area to give us an update on something about the suspicious package -- Mark.

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka.

I just spoke with a top supervisor at the U.S. Customs who said this in a abundance of caution, the officials have called in the bomb squad to look at a shipment of personal effects that came into Miami from Israel. They do not really think that this is going to be a disastrous situation, but again, just to be safe, they have called the bomb squad because of something that they spotted in the shipment.

It's described as an item that might even be considered a souvenir: a shell casing or something like that. They don't have much information on it because they pulled everyone away from the ship until the bomb squad could get there. But there gut tells them that this is not going to be an actual bomb.

But again, they have to be very careful. The entrance to the port has been sealed off, so people can't come in until they can determine what it is.

But they feel that it is likely to be something along the lines of a souvenir package, something enclosed in the personal effects that are being brought in for someone moving to this area.

So they don't know what it is absolutely. And they are not standing down, but they are not also expecting this to be some sort of a disaster, and they are not expecting this to be a real explosive. But again, they have to check it out, and that is what they are doing now.

WHITFIELD: And Mark, Susan Candiotti down there had also reported that she was told that they came across this suspicious package or this very strange souvenir of sorts that's being described now during a routine inspection of the ship, inspections that take place in a very ordinary way there. But this one raised eyebrows.

POTTER: Yes. And there is heightened concern at the Port of Miami, as there are ports around the United States now. And it would not be unusual for them to take this position, given the circumstances in this country. But again, they describe what they are doing as being done in an abundance of caution. They are not expecting this to be a problem. But again, they have to check it out, and that is what they are doing.

WHITFIELD: All right, Mark Potter, joining us on the phone from Miami, thank you very much.

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