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Bomb squad sent to US Embassy after car crashes into gates

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Bomb squad called to US Embassy gate crash

A 30-year-old man will face the ACT Magistrates Court after crashing his car into the US Embassy's gates in Canberra.

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A 30-year-old man will face the ACT Magistrates Court after a car crashed into the main gates of Canberra’s United States Embassy on Wednesday night.

He has been charged with damaging the premises of an internationally protected person.

The Australian Federal Police bomb response unit attended the Yarralumla complex after ACT Policing, Fire and Rescue and Ambulance crews were called about 6pm.

Workers inspect damage to a gate at the US Embassy in Canberra after being struck by a car. Click for more photos

Bomb squad called to US Embassy

Bomb squad was called to the US Embassy in Yarralumla on Wednesday after a car crashed into the main gate. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Investigators said it was too early to tell what circumstances had led to the accident and five-hour police operation, but neither the vehicle or the embassy security gates were extensively damaged.

No explosives were found in the orange Peugeot hatchback which bore Queensland number plates.

Acting Superintendent Darren Rath said the man, from Queensland, had been taken to the ACT Watch House and remained in custody ahead of possible charges.

"The search has been conducted and we are confident there is no issue," Superintendent Rath told journalists outside the embassy.

"Investigations are ongoing as to the circumstances which saw the vehicle collided into the premises and I don’t want to pre-empt them."

He said US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich was in residence during the incident and had been briefed throughout.

"Certain protocols were enacted of course, but I can’t say whether that is termed lock down," he said.

He stressed the involvement of the AFP bomb response unit was precautionary due to the incident taking place at a diplomatic mission.

Staff at the US Embassy, one of the most heavily protected diplomatic buildings in the nation’s capital, are expected to make a statement about the incident on Thursday.

Roads including Perth Avenue and Moonah Place were roads were closed during the incident.

Items removed from the boot of the car included a laundry basket and various pieces of men’s clothing.

"The security here [at the embassy] did exactly what it was supposed to do," Superintendent Rath said.

An ACT Policing spokeswoman said the man was uninjured in the incident.   

The US Embassy later thanked local authorities for their response to the incident, in a statement issued on Thursday.

“The US Embassy appreciates the timely and professional support provided by the federal and local law enforcement and emergency services in response to this incident,” it read.

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