Police respond as 'suspicious package' sent to British consulate in Melbourne

Suspicious packages sent to embassies and consulates in Melbourne and Canberra

At least 10 worldwide consulates in Australia's Melbourne, including the Indian consulate, were evacuated on Wednesday following reports of "suspicious packages" being delivered to them, local media reported.

A spokesman for the US Mission Australia, on behalf of the US Consulate General in Melbourne, said: "We can confirm the U.S. Consulate in Melbourne received a suspicious package earlier today. The circumstances are being investigated", the official statement reads.

Two fire trucks, a hazardous materials vehicle and police cars attended the Consulate-General of India on St Kilda Road where staff were evacuated, telling reporters they had been told not to comment to reporters.

Workers are being evacuated across town, with the embassies impacted believed to include the American, British, Indian, Italian, New Zealand, Korean, Egyptian, Pakistani, Greek, Danish, Spanish, Japanese, Thai and German consulates after hazardous materials were discovered just before 2pm.

A major security operation in Melbourne, Australia is underway after suspicious packages were reportedly found at multiple diplomatic consulates on January 9.

Officials say the packages were sent to more than 10 diplomatic offices in the capital, Canberra, and in Melbourne.

A spokeswoman for the British High Commission said: "We are liaising closely with the Australian Federal Police and the local authorities regarding the situation".

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It said the Israeli embassy in Canberra also received a suspicious package.

It is understood at least seven Melbourne buildings have been evacuated.

Embassies in Canberra have also been targeted.

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

"We are assisting at a number of embassies across Melbourne", she said.

Images taken by 9News show firefighters and Ambulance Victoria paramedics attending the Indian Consulate and US Consulate on St Kilda Road. Inside were plastic sandwich bags containing fibrous material.

On Monday, suspicious parcels containing a white substance were sent to Argentina's consulate in Sydney.

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