"Suspicious packages" found at consulates in Australia

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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.

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

VicEmergency says they are responding to hazardous material reports at Bourke St, Market St, Middleton Lane, Albert Rd, Queens Rd and St Kilda Rd.

"We handled the package according to our standard procedures and in close coordination with local authorities. who are investigating the incident", a spokesman for the U.S. Consulate told Reuters.

Emergency services raced to a string of diplomatic facilities which had received packages containing suspected hazardous material, all within the space of a few hours.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs said it had sent a note to all diplomatic missions in the capital on Tuesday, "alerting them to the possibility of suspicious packages being delivered by mail". It is unclear what embassies in Canberra were affected.

They also attended an incident at a building housing the Consulate General of Turkey, ABC said.

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

Police did not identify any of the embassies or consulates involved.

Images on social media reportedly showed emergency services in protective clothing entering various consulates in Melbourne.

"The circumstances surrounding these incidents are being investigated", the Australian Federal Police said in a statement.

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

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported suspicious packages were also found at the Melbourne consulates of Switzerland, Pakistan and New Zealand, and possibly those of Greece, France, and Hong Kong.

A British High Commission official said its consulate general in Melbourne had also been targeted but "all our staff are safe and accounted for".

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