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Australia police examining suspicious packages sent to diplomatic missions

Staff have been evacuated as emergency crews respond to a number of incidents involving foreign consulates in Melbourne. AAP

An Australian Federal Police statement said police and emergency services have responded to suspicious packages delivered to embassies in Melbourne.

According to the newspaper, the Australian, the missions affected included those of India, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Japan, Pakistan, South Korea, Germany, Greece, Spain, Seychelles, Switzerland, Croatia and Egypt.

"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.

There was also an alert of a hazardous material incident at Yertchuch Avenue in Ashwood, in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, where the Swiss consulate is based.

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.

Domestic media reported that more than a dozen foreign offices received the packages and some staff said they contained asbestos, a material used in building that can cause cancers and other health problems.

Seven foreign consulates have been evacuated in Melbourne after the discovery of suspicious packages.

There are also reports the Korean, Greek, Italian, Pakistani and Egyptian consulates have also been in lockdown.

Firefighters and Ambulance Victoria paramedics were attending the Indian Consulate and US Consulate on St Kilda Road.

Consulates of the UK, Switzerland, the USA and Pakistan are among those evacuated there.

Hazmat and fire crews work outside the Indian and French Consulate in Melbourne, Australia Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.

The official said she was told by the authorities to wash her hands.

"There are 22 we know of at least in Melbourne and Canberra", Candice said. "The circumstances are being investigated".

A spokeswoman for the Australian Federal Police said: "Police and emergency services have responded to suspicious packages delivered to embassies in Melbourne today".