Suspicious packages sent to foreign missions in Australia

Clay Curtis
January 9, 2019

Australian police are investigating the delivery of suspicious packages sent to foreign embassies and consulates in Melbourne and Canberra, police and embassy sources told AFP Wednesday.

It was not immediately known which countries' diplomatic missions in the national capital, Canberra, were affected.

Hazardous material warnings were also shown near the Indonesian, Thai, Greek, Egyptian and Japanese consulates in Melbourne.

Victoria Police is aware of a number of consulate offices in Melbourne today receiving suspicious packages.

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. "The circumstances are being investigated", it said.

Suspicious packages have been delivered to the British Consulate and other embassies in Melbourne and Canberra, Australian police said.

Police tape at the locked down Italian consulate. There was no reports of any one injured so far.

Emergency Victoria issued eight "Hazardous Material" alerts listed within 30 minutes, with workers reportedly evacuated across the city shortly after substances were discovered.

They were allowed to re-enter the building, which was deemed "safe" by Vic Emergency by 3pm.

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Police have just confirmed, in what may be coincidence of the century, that hazmat training is being conducted at the US Embassy this afternoon.

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

The agency's website listed more than 10 "hazardous material" events occurring across Melbourne, which began unfolding from about 1pm.

Addresses for the events included Market Street, Bourke Street, Middleton Lane, William Street, and St Kilda Road in Melbourne, Elgin Street at Carlton, and Yertchuk Avenue at Ashwood.

All of the incidents that matched the addresses of consulates in Melbourne were declared under control.

There are no reports of injuries.

A spokeswoman for the service said: "We are assisting the Australian Federal Police right now with a number of incidents across Melbourne".

A spokesman for the U.S. consulate in Melbourne told CNN that after receiving a suspicious package staff "followed standard procedures and alerted local authorities".

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

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