Suspicious packages sent to numerous consulates and embassies

'Suspicious packages' found at consulates in Australia

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 statement Wednesday said: "The circumstances surrounding these incidents are being investigated".

Police in Australia say they are investigating several suspicious packages sent to embassies and consulates in the cities of Melbourne and Canberra.

At least 13 consulates in Melbourne have been affected, along with a number of unnamed embassies and consulates in the ACT, the AFP has confirmed.

Police did not identify any of the embassies or consulates involved, although the Australian newspaper reported that missions affected included the United Kingdom, New Zealand, India, Japan, Pakistan, South Korea, Germany, Greece, Spain, Seychelles, Switzerland, Croatia and Egypt.

The Vic Emergency website lists more than 10 "hazardous material" events occurring across Melbourne, which began unfolding from about 1pm.

"We are aware of reports of suspicious packages being received and are cooperating with the AFP", a British consulate spokesman said.

More news: United States and China to hold trade talks in Beijing next week

There are reports the packages contain white powder laced with asbestos, and that warnings were emailed to staffers at the consulates prior to the delivery telling them to "wear masks" when opening the packages.

The Indian and U.S. consulates on St Kilda Road as well as the British, Swiss and German diplomatic mission are believed to have been targeted.

"All our staff are safe and accounted for".

Hazmat and fire crews are seen outside the Indian and French Consulates on St Kilda Road in Melbourne.

"We are liaising closely with the [Australian Federal Police] and the local authorities regarding the situation", a spokesperson said.

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

The discovery of suspicious substances at the Argentinian consulate in Sydney prompted a large scale emergency response just two days ago.

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