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NY City ups security after suspicious packages sent to politicians, CNN building

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio says the suspicious packages delivered to both CNN and the offices of Governor Andrew Cuomo are a clear act of terrorism.

FILE: Hillary Clinton. Picture: AFP.

NEW YORK - New York has increased its security after suspicious packages were sent to the building where news channel CNN is based as well as to the office of the state governor.

At the same time, suspicious packages had been intercepted by the secret service from reaching intended targets of former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio says the suspicious packages delivered to both CNN and the offices of Governor Andrew Cuomo are a clear act of terrorism.

Cuomo deployed additional national guard soldiers to and doubled security at vital transportation sites across New York out of “abundance of caution”.

Cuomo says New Yorkers have never succumbed to fear or intimidation and this will be no different.

FIVE PACKAGES

The first package, which turned up on Monday, was addressed to billionaire financier George Soros, a prominent Democratic Party donor and frequent target of right-wing conspiracy theories.

The parcel intended for Holder ended up rerouted to the return address that had been printed on all five packages - the Florida office of US Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who formerly chaired the Democratic National Committee, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"It is possible that additional packages were mailed to other locations," the FBI said in a statement on its website.

US Representative Maxine Waters, a veteran Democratic congresswoman from Los Angeles, said her Capitol Hill office also was the target of a suspicious package that “has been referred to the FBI.”

The five other packages confirmed by the FBI in its statement were all described as consisting of a manila envelope with a bubble-wrap interior containing “potentially destructive devices.” Each bore a computer-printed address label and six “Forever” postage stamps, the FBI said.

Other officials said the devices contained in the envelopes were all similar to one found in the mailbox of the Soros home and later detonated by police.

The US Secret Service intercepted packages addressed to Obama at his Washington home and to Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee for president, at her home in New York state.

The CNN bureau in New York also received a package addressed to Brennan, who has appeared as an on-air CNN analyst, leading police to evacuate the Time Warner building in a busy Manhattan neighbourhood near Central Park.

“So far the devices have been what appeared to be pipe bombs,” John Miller, the New York City police deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, told a news conference.

“This clearly is an act of terror attempting to undermine our free press and leaders of this country through acts of violence,” Mayor de Blasio told a news conference.

'VIOLENCE HAS NO PLACE IN AMERICA'

US President Donald Trump says no expense or resource will be spared in investigating suspicious packages sent to Obama, Clinton and CNN offices among others.

Trump issued a rare call for unity following the suspicious packages being intercepted.

“We have to come together and send out a very clear, strong message that acts with political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America.”

But as many political pundits have noted, he is the one who is often sowing the seeds of discord against news agencies like CNN and politicians like Clinton, targets of the suspicious packages.

De Blasio called on politicians to stop their inflammatory rhetoric two weeks before the midterm elections.

Additional reporting by Reuters.