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Suspicious packages with white powder found at India's consulate and other missions in Australia

Press Trust of India  |  Melbourne 

Suspicious packages containing white powder, some reportedly marked with the word "asbestos" were sent to the and several other diplomatic missions here on Wednesday, prompting Australian authorities to evacuate the facilities and launch an investigation.

said a number of packages sent to at least 10 consulates and embassies in and were being examined by emergency services and the circumstances around the incidents were under investigation.

Police said they believed the consulates were specifically "targeted" and the situation was "not impacting the general community".

The incident comes just two days after a suspicious white powder was found at the in Sydney.

Emergency services were first alerted to the packages at the and about 12.30 pm.

Firefighters and Ambulance paramedics were attending the and on St Kilda Road.

An Indian Consulate said all was fine at the building.

"Police and emergency services have responded to suspicious packages to embassies and consulates... The packages are being examined by attending emergency services. The circumstances are being investigated," the tweeted.

There are reports the packages contain white powder laced with asbestos, and that warnings were e-mailed to staffers at the consulates prior to the delivery telling them to "wear masks" when opening the packages, 9News reported.

The (MFB) said it was assisting the at a number of incidents at embassies across

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

"We isolated the area then identified where the actual substance was, collected it and made it safe," 9News quoted from the MFB as saying from outside the Indian consulate.

A worker at the Pakistani consulate in opened one of the packages about 10am on Wednesday, newspaper reported.

It is understood the envelope, which looked like a normal letter, was addressed to the of

Initial suspicions were raised by a spelling mistake on the envelope, with "consulate" misspelled.

Inside, the worker discovered a small item that looked like a marble tile, and three packages of tightly packed powder, report said.

The staff member did not touch the contents of the package.

Emergency workers wearing were seen entering some of the buildings. There was no reports of any one injured so far.

Ambulance confirmed a number of patients were examined at multiple consulates.

"No patients have required treatment or transport to hospital," it said in a statement.

The consulate, located on Collins Street, along with the (St Kilda Road), (Street), (St Kilda Road), (Ashwood), consulate (Cardigan Place), (Albert Road) and the (Queens Road) are also believed to have been affected.

More than a dozen hazardous material alerts have been issued on the VicEmergency website.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 09 2019. 17:50 IST