Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Consulates in Australia evacuated over suspicious packages

Consulates in Australia evacuated over suspicious packages

Australian authorities are investigating suspicious packages found at foreign consulates in Canberra and Melbourne, police have confirmed.

Several foreign consulates were evacuated in the Australian cities of Melbourne and Canberra on Wednesday after they received suspicious packages.

Emergency services attended consulates across Melbourne's central busy district and the inner city. "The circumstances are being investigated", the Australian Federal Police said in a statement.

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.

State police in Melbourne said the incidents there were believed to be "targeted and not impacting the general community".

Besides India, video footage showed emergency services workers attending the consulates of the US, Greece, France, Italy, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Korea and Switzerland.

Images taken by 9News showed firefighters and paramedics attending the Indian and US missions in Melbourne.

Alerts for the events pointed to Market Street, Bourke Street, Middleton Lane, William Street, and St Kilda Road in Melbourne, Elgin Street at Carlton, and Yertchuk Avenue at Ashwood, with each location matching the address of a consulate.

Melbourne's Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) has sent vans to reports of "hazardous material" at 16 sites, according to the Vic Emergency website.

The ministry said staff were evacuated as a precautionary measure.

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

The US consulate in Melbourne had notified authorities about a suspicious package, a spokesman told Reuters.

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

It comes two days after the ABC understands the Argentinian consulate in Sydney was sent three bags containing asbestos and fibreglass.

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