Suspicious packages sent to up to 14 diplomatic missions in Australia-police, media

Suspicious packages sent to up to 14 diplomatic missions in Australia-police, media

 

2019-01-09T045545Z_1_LYNXNPEF08084_RTROPTP_4_AUSTRALIA-SECURITY.JPG

Hazmat and fire crews are seen outside the Indian and French Consulates on St Kilda Road in Melbourne, Australia, January 9, 2019. Staff have been evacuated as emergency crews respond to a number of incidents involving foreign consulates in Melbourne. AAP Image/Kaitlyn Offer via REUTERS

 

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Police in Australia said on Wednesday they are investigating several suspicious packages sent to embassies and consulates, which media reports and other officials said included the U.S. and British missions, in the cities of Melbourne and Canberra.

 

There were no immediate reports of any harm to staff.

 

"The packages are being examined by attending emergency services," the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a short statement without providing further details.

 

"The circumstances surrounding the incidents are being investigated," the statement said.

 

Police did not identify any of the embassies or consulates involved, although the Australian newspaper reported that missions affected included the United Kingdom, New Zealand, India, Japan, Pakistan, South Korea, Germany, Greece, Spain, Seychelles, Switzerland, Croatia and Egypt.

 

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

 

"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 said.

 

Australian media reported earlier that packages were sent to at least nine international missions in Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, including the British, German, Swiss and Indian embassies.

 

Images taken by 9News showed firefighters and paramedics attending the Indian and U.S. missions in Melbourne.

 

(Reporting by Swati Pandey and Colin Packham; Additional reporting by Melanie Burton and Sonali Paul in MELBOURNE; Editing by Paul Tait)

 
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