Suspicious packages sent to foreign missions in Australia

Police say investigating packages that were sent to consulates and embassies in Melbourne and Canberra.

    Hazmat and fire crews in Melbourne after reports that multiple suspicious packages had been sent to foreign consulates and embassies [Kaitlyn Offer/AAP Image/AP]
    Hazmat and fire crews in Melbourne after reports that multiple suspicious packages had been sent to foreign consulates and embassies [Kaitlyn Offer/AAP Image/AP]

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

    The packages were being examined by "attending emergency services", the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a short statement on Wednesday

    "The circumstances surrounding the incidents are being investigated," it added, without providing additional details.

    There were no immediate reports of any harm to staff.

    Police did not identify any of the missions involved, but officials at the US and British consulates in Melbourne separately confirmed suspicious packages had been received.

    Domestic media reported more than a dozen foreign offices received the packages and that some staff said they contained asbestos, a material used in building that can cause cancers and other health problems.

    Other consulates in Melbourne reported by media to have received suspicious packages included those representing Greece, Italy, Spain, Thailand, India, Japan, Pakistan, Egypt, Denmark and Switzerland

    The reports could not be independently verified.

    There were no details of any possible motive and some of the targeted sites visited by reporters were open later on Wednesday afternoon.

    A spokesperson for the British High Commission confirmed its office in Melbourne had received a suspicious package.

    "We are liaising closely with the AFP and the local authorities regarding the situation," the spokesperson said.

    "All our staff are safe and accounted for."

    The US consulate in the city said it also received a "suspicious" package, which a spokesperson said was handled in coordination with the Melbourne Fire Brigade and the AFP.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies