Suspicious packages sent to multiple embassies and consulates in Australia

Australian police are investigating suspicious packages found at foreign consulates and embassies in Melbourne and Canberra.

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

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade confirmed shortly before 3pm that it was assisting Australian Federal Police at embassies across Melbourne.

Australian media reported earlier that packages were sent to at least nine global missions in Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, including the British, German, Swiss and Indian embassies.

"At this time we believe the matter is targeted and not impacting the general community", said police in the state of Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital.

Firefighters, right, are seen outside the Indian and French consulates on St Kilda Road in Melbourne.

Meanwhile, Melbourne talkback radio station 3AW reported the American, British, Indian, Italian, New Zealand, Korean, Egyptian, Pakistani, Greek, Spanish, Japanese, and German consulates are believed to have been affected after the discovery of "hazardous materials" just before 2 p.m.

"The circumstances surrounding these incidents are being investigated".

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.

A major operation is underway after packages were delivered to at least 10 worldwide consulates across Melbourne.

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

According to the ABC, a New Zealand consulate worker told the press that the package had been labeled "asbestos" and contained several plastic bags holding fibrous material.

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

The official said she was told by the authorities to wash her hands.

US and British consulate officials confirmed to Reuters that suspicious packages had been discovered at their respective locations. However, the substance, which was powder in clear plastic bags in an envelope, was subsequently deemed not risky.

  • Rogelio Becker