Suspicious packages delivered to diplomatic missions in Australia

Staff have been evacuated as emergency crews respond to a number of incidents involving foreign consulates in Melbourne. AAP

Staff have been evacuated as emergency crews respond to a number of incidents involving foreign consulates in Melbourne. AAP

Local media reported that emergency workers had been seen at consulates belonging to India, South Korea, New Zealand, Greece and Italy. It is unclear what embassies in Canberra were affected.

A spokesman for the U.S. consulate has confirmed it had received a suspicious package.

"The circumstances surrounding the incidents are being investigated", the statement said.

Sky reported that the scare coincided with the United States embassy's hazmat training, which had been booked for months.

Melbourne's Metropolitan Fire Brigade said it had been called to "a number of incidents" across the city, BBC News reports.

Authorities did not confirm the specific locations or intended targets of any of the packages, but the Australian federal police confirmed it was investigating and would examine the packages.

"Police and emergency services have responded to suspicious packages to embassies and consulates in ACT & VIC today (Wednesday, 9 January 2019)", a Twitter post from the AFP just after 3 p.m. said.




The incidents come after Sydney's Argentinian consulate was partially evacuated on Monday after reports of a suspicious substance.

Paramedics and firefighters wearing hazmat suits were seen entering the Korean embassy, while fire engines were seen outside several consulates.

Victoria Police said they are aware of the suspicious packages, but do not believe the public should be concerned.

The foreign consulates are based mainly in St Kilda Road and the city centre.

Domestic media reported that more than a dozen foreign offices received the packages and some staff said they contained asbestos, a material used in building that can cause cancers and other health problems.

The packages are not believed to be risky, but police, fire crews and forensic teams were urged to use breathing apparatus as they documented and double or triple bagged the materials for further testing.

"Staff were evacuated from the Consulate as a precautionary measure", a spokesperson said.

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