Consulates in Melbourne and Canberra evacuated over 'suspicious package'

Consulates in Melbourne and Canberra evacuated over 'suspicious package'

"Police and emergency services have responded to suspicious packages delivered to embassies and consulates in Canberra and Melbourne", an Australian Federal Police statement said.

Diplomatic offices in Melbourne for countries including Germany, Italy, India, Spain and South Korea were among those attended by police, fire crews and ambulance officers on Wednesday afternoon.

Public broadcaster ABC also reported that authorities had also found similar packages at the Melbourne consulates of the United States, the UK, Switzerland, Pakistan and New Zealand, and possibly also those of France, Greece, and Hong Kong.

Vic Emergency, a government response agency, reported several instances of hazardous materials being found across the city on Wednesday, including near the Spanish, Japanese, Egyptian, Indian and Pakistani consulates. "The circumstances are being investigated", Australian Federal Police tweeted.

Australian media reported earlier that packages were sent to at least nine worldwide missions in Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, including the British, German, Swiss and Indian embassies.

The Israeli embassy in Canberra has confirmed it also received a suspicious package.

More news: Cardinals to hire Kliff Kingsbury as head coach

A New Zealand official told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the consulate received an envelope with small plastic bags that appeared to contain concrete and asbestos, with "asbestos" written on one of the bags.

Images on social media reportedly showed emergency services in protective clothing entering various consulates in Melbourne. Paramedics are also at St Kilda Road, but there are no reports of anyone being injured.

It comes two days after a suspicious package was sent to the Argentinian consulate in Sydney.

There were at least 17 "hazardous material" warnings listed on the Victoria Emergency website after 1pm, scattered across the city on Collins St, Queens St, William St, St Kilda Rd and Albert Rd.

The powder, contained in clear plastic bags within an envelope, was subsequently deemed not unsafe.

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