'Suspicious packages' found at Melbourne, Canberra consulates

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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.

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", said the AFP statement.

Police in Australia said on Wednesday they are investigating several suspicious packages sent to embassies and consulates, which media reports and other officials said included the US and British missions, in the cities of Melbourne and Canberra.

The AFP said some embassies and consulates in Canberra had also been affected.

Police are investigating after suspicious packages were delivered to a number of foreign consulates in Melbourne's CBD and the ACT.

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A number of consulates have been evacuated in Melbourne.

The Indian consulate and USA embassy, both located on St Kilda Road in Melbourne, are believed to be have been affected, as well as the Swiss, British, German, Spanish, Korean and New Zealand consulates and embassies.

US and British consulate officials confirmed to Reuters that suspicious packages had been discovered at their respective locations.

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

There were no immediate reports of any of the consulate staff being harmed in the incidents.

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

The Melbourne fire brigade and Australian Federal Police are now investigating.

The Age newspaper reported that one firefighter was seen outside the South Korean consulate carrying a large plastic bag with the word "asbestos" written on it.

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

"All our staff are safe and accounted for", said a British High Commission spokesperson.

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