'Suspicious packages' found at Melbourne, Canberra consulates

'Suspicious packages' found at consulates in Australia

A spokesman for the US Mission Australia, on behalf of the US Consulate General in Melbourne, said: "We can confirm the U.S. Consulate in Melbourne received a suspicious package earlier today".

Emergency services attended consulates across Melbourne's central busy district and the inner city.

The packages were delivered on Wednesday, Efe news quoted the statement as saying.

Other consulates in Melbourne reported by media to have received suspicious packages included those representing Greece, Italy, Spain, Thailand, India, Japan, Pakistan, Egypt, Denmark and Switzerland.

SYDNEY: Pakistan's mission in Melbourne was among the those worldwide consulates and embassies in Australian cities that have been sent suspicious packages containing white powder, some reportedly marked with the word "asbestos", foreign media reported.

On Monday, suspicious parcels containing a white substance were sent to Argentina's consulate in Sydney.

An Australian Federal Police statement said police and emergency services have responded to suspicious packages delivered to embassies in Melbourne.

A spokeswoman said: "As this matter is subject to further inquiries, it is not appropriate to provide further information that may impact on the investigation".

"We are liaising closely with the AFP and the local authorities regarding the situation", the spokesperson said.

Embassies in Canberra have also been targeted.

There were no immediate reports of any injuries to staff in the buildings.

All of the incidents that matched the addresses of consulates in Melbourne were declared under control.

There are also reports the Korean, Greek, Italian, Pakistani and Egyptian consulates have also been in lockdown.

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) said it was assisting the Australian Federal Police at embassies across Melbourne.

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.

Hazmat and fire crews are seen outside the Indian and French Consulates on St Kilda Road with evacuated workers on the street.

"All our staff are safe and accounted for", she said.

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