Suspicious packages sent to various diplomatic missions in Australia

Melbourne police say they are dealing with suspicious packages

Image Melbourne police say they are dealing with suspicious packages

The Australian Federal Police were investigating a number of suspicious packages on Wednesday that had been sent to numerous consulates and embassies across the country.

Reuters adds: Police in Australia are investigating suspicious packages sent to a wide range of embassies and consulates on Wednesday, which officials said included the us and British missions in Melbourne.

Photos put up by a journalist on Twitter showed Indian consulate staff sitting on a sidewalk outside their office while emergency service vehicles stood nearby.

The Australian Federal Police are investigating the circumstances around the packages and are working with local authorities and MFB.

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They include United States, Britain, New Zealand, India, Japan, Pakistan, Korea, Germany, Greece, Spain, Seychelles, Switzerland, Croatia and Egypt.

Contamination squads have been sent to at least seven locations in Melbourne with the hopes of identifying the contents of the packages.

Officials at the US and British consulates separately confirmed suspicious packages had been received.

A major operation is underway after packages were delivered to at least 10 global consulates across Melbourne. It was not clear which embassies in Canberra were affected.

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

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

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.

Staff members were later allowed to re-enter the building, which was deemed safe by Vic Emergency, the collective body of emergency agencies in Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital. However, the substance, which was powder in clear plastic bags in an envelope, was subsequently deemed not unsafe.

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