AFP investigating after suspicious packages delivered to global consulates in Melbourne, Canberra

'Suspicious packages' found at consulates in Australia

A spokeswoman for the Australian Federal Police said: "Police and emergency services have responded to suspicious packages delivered to embassies and consulates in Melbourne today".

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", it said.

Police in Australia are investigating suspicious packages sent to at least ten embassies and consulates in Canberra and Melbourne, including those of Britain, the United States and New Zealand.

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

Police did not identify any of the embassies or consulates involved.

Two firetrucks, a hazardous materials vehicle and police cars were seen at India's consulate in Melbourne, where staff members had been evacuated, some wearing protective masks.

A spokesman for the US Consulate in Melbourne also confirmed they had received a package which local authorities are investigating.

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Australian Associated Press reported staff at the consulate general of India were evacuated from the building for about 40 minutesand ordered not to talk to media, while reporters outside the consulate general of the Republic of Korea reported seeing at least one person in a hazmat suit enter the building.

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

There was also an alert of a hazardous material incident at Yertchuch Avenue in Ashwood, in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, where the Swiss consulate is based.

"The packages are being examined by attending emergency services".

In a statement, Victoria Police said they were aware that "a number" of consulate offices had received suspicious packages.

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

One firefighter was seen outside the South Korean consulate carrying a large plastic bag with the word "asbestos" written on it.

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