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Diplomatic missions targeted Swiss consulate in Melbourne targeted by ‘suspicious package’

Fire crews work outside the Indian and French consulates in Melbourne

At least ten foreign diplomatic missions in Melbourne reportedly received packages with "hazardous" material.

(Keystone)

The Swiss diplomatic mission in the Australian city of Melbourne has been sent a suspicious letter as part of a campaign targeting several foreign embassies and consulates. A man has been arrested.

The Swiss embassyexternal link confirmed on Wednesday that police had turned up at the site of the Swiss consulate in Melbourne, according to the Swiss news agency, Keystone-SDA/ATS.

On Wednesday evening, police arrested a 49-year-old man, charging with him sending up to 38 packages with hazardous material to various consulates and embassies.

The Swiss honorary consul, Manuela Erb, was quoted by Australian media as saying she was sent a small envelope containing a substance labelled "asbestos". All other Swiss diplomatic missions to Australia were warned about suspicious deliveries, the embassy said.

Other consulates in Melbourne and embassies in the capital, Canberra, that reportedly received suspicious packages included those representing the United States, Britain, New Zealand, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Denmark, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Egypt.

Police, fire crews and ambulances were seen at several foreign consulates.

There were no reports of harm to any staff.

There are no official details on any possible motive for the parcels. Local media reported that some of the suspicious packages contained asbestos, a material used in building that can cause cancer and other health problems.

swissinfo.ch with SDA-ATS and Reuters/ug

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