Possible 7th mail bomb found in elite Amsterdam hotel

Hotel Okura in Amsterdam
Inside the Hotel Okura in Amsterdam. Oct. 3, 2019WindEuropeFlickrCC-BY-NC

Update, 14:45, 3 January 2019: Police released a photo of one of the mail bombs, side-by-side with an image of an authentic letter from CIB. The photo comparison appears at the end of this article.

Police were called to the Hotel Okura in Amsterdam Zuid on Friday morning after workers there discovered a suspicious letter matching the appearance of a series of six mail bombs sent to separate locations in the Netherlands over the past week. Authorities arrived at the five-star hotel minutes before 9 a.m., joined by an explosives expert from the police. The Defense ministry's explosives ordinance disposal unit arrived an hour later.

There were no injuries reported, and the hotel was not evacuated, police said. An ambulance was dispatched to the scene just before 10 a.m.

On Thursday, police advised the public to contact them immediately if they were in contact with a bulging envelope that had a separate label on it printed with the CIB logo of debt collection agency Centraal Invorderings Bureau, and the agency's return address on Wilhelminakade in Rotterdam. The company normally uses envelopes with the CIB logo printed directly on the envelope.

"The letter at the hotel was recognized this morning as the letters described yesterday," police said on Friday.

The six confirmed letter bombs include one each sent to a gas station and a hotel in Amsterdam, a real estate agency in Utrecht, a gas station in Rotterdam, and the Van Mossel Mercedes Benz dealership on Autolettestraat in Rotterdam. The sixth was found at the CIB head office in Rotterdam.

The mail bomb that arrived at CIB was supposed to be delivered to a business in Maastricht, but a postal sorting facility returned the letter to the company labeled as the sender. By the time it reached CIB it "had sustained fire damage, but had not exploded."

Police believe the same person or people was involved in all of the prior incidents. They said anyone who comes in contact with a letter from CIB where the company's logo is printed on a separate label should contact emergency services at 1-1-2.

"The letter bombs did not cause any damage because the explosives did not detonate, but could have caused serious bodily injury," police said on Thursday night.

A mail bomb sent in a string of attempted attacks in 2019 & 2020
On the left, an example of a mail bomb with a CIB return address sent to businesses in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Utrecht. On the right, an example of authentic piece of mail from CIB. Jan. 3, 2019PolitiePolitie