Australia: Numerous suspicious packages found at consulates | News | DW | 09.01.2019
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Australia: Numerous suspicious packages found at consulates

Police and ambulances were seen at several consulates and embassies in Melbourne and Canberra. The missions of Germany, the United States, India, and several other countries are believed to have been affected.

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. Police cars and ambulances could be seen outside several diplomatic missions in Melbourne and the capital Canberra, including those of Germany, South Korea, Italy, India, and Spain.

Public broadcaster ABC also reported that authorities had also found similar packages at the Melbourne consulates of the United States, the UK, Switzerland, Pakistan and New Zealand, and possibly also those of France, Greece, and Hong Kong.

"At this time we believe the matter is targeted and not impacting the general community," said police in the state of Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital.

The police said there were ten "hazardous material" responses taking place throughout the city.

Staff were initially evacuated from some of the affected buildings, which were placed on temporary lock down, but were allowed to return later on Wednesday afternoon.

According to the ABC, a New Zealand consulate worker told the press that the package had been labeled "asbestos" and contained several plastic bags holding fibrous material. The husband of the Swiss honorary consul in Melbourne told the Australia Post a similar story.

The incident came on the heels of a similar suspicious package delivery to the Argentinian consulate in Sydney on Monday, which was later found not to contain harmful material.

es/msh (AP, dpa)

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