Suspect packages sent to diplomatic missions in Australia

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Australian police were investigating the delivery of suspicious packages sent to foreign embassies and consulates in Melbourne and Canberra, including the Turkish consulate, police and diplomatic sources said on January 9.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a tweet that emergency services responded to "suspicious packages" at embassies and consulates in Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Victoria.

Emergency services attended consulates across Melbourne's central busy district and the inner city.

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade confirmed shortly before 3pm that it was assisting Australian Federal Police at embassies across Melbourne.

"At this time we believe the matter is targeted and not impacting the general community", the statement said.

Police, fire crews and ambulances attended foreign consulates including those of Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, India and South Korea.

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Investigating officers at the U.S Consulate on St Kilda Road said the package had been found in the mail room.

Several foreign consulates have been evacuated in Melbourne as Australian officials note they are responding to multiple "hazardous material" events in the city. It was not clear which embassies in Canberra were affected.

The NZ consulate was one of at least seven global consulates evacuated after multiple suspicious packages were found, in what officials labelled a "hazardous material" event. "The circumstances are being investigated", said the AFP statement.

There are unconfirmed reports that the Italian, Japanese, Egyptian and Danish consulates also received packages.

"We are liaising closely with the [federal police] and the local authorities", the official added.

A spokesman for the United States consulate in Melbourne told CNN that after receiving a suspicious package staff "followed standard procedures and alerted local authorities". However, the substance, which was powder in clear plastic bags in an envelope, was subsequently deemed not unsafe.

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