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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sydney Siege: Gunman identified with Isis 'death cult'


The gunman killed in a 17-hour siege in Sydney overnight identified with the Isis “death cult”, Tony Abbott said, as he warned that Australia was not immune from political violence.

“As the siege unfolded yesterday, he sought to cloak his actions with the symbolism of the Isil death cult. Tragically, there are people in our community ready to engage in politically motivated violence,” the prime minister told reporters on Tuesday morning.


He said the reason for the attack was as yet unknown, and that the gunman, Man Haron Monis, had a history of violence and mental health issues.

Abbott commended the bravery of authorities who responded to the siege, which resulted in the death of two hostages as well as the gunman. Three hostages and a police officer were injured.

“Australians should be reassured by the way our law enforcement and security agencies responded to this brush with terrorism,” Abbott said.

The national security committee of cabinet, which includes Abbott and a number of senior ministers, met on Tuesday morning after the conclusion of the stand-off.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two deceased hostages, the wounded and the other hostages,” Abbott said.

Abbott instructed that the flag be flown at half-mast at all Commonwealth buildings, as a sign of respect for the victims of the siege.


Te prime minister was briefed on the events by the New South Wales premier, Mike Baird, Australian Federal Police commissioner, Andrew Colvin, and NSW police commissioner, Andrew Scipione, who led the response.

“I commend the courage and professionalism of the New South Wales police and other emergency services involved,” Abbott said.
“Commonwealth agencies will continue to provide every support to New South Wales authorities.”

The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, also paid tribute to police and security agencies, saying “their skill and professionalism” had saved lives.
“We owe our full gratitude to our police and security agencies for their bravery, service and sacrifice,” Shorten said.

“The opposition continues to offer the government its full support during this difficult time. The prime minister and I are partners when it comes to keeping Australians safe,” Shorten said.

“Today, all of Australia stands with Sydney.”
Acting Greens leader Adam Bandt also commended police and security agencies, and urged the public to work together to overcome the trauma of the incident.
“We are absolutely devastated to learn of the tragic end to the hostage incident in Sydney,” Bandt said.

“It is critical that the nation comes together today. We should comfort one another and open our arms in warm embrace to all peace-loving people regardless of faith, race or nationality.”
The governor-general, Peter Cosgrove, said he was shocked and saddened by the event.
He too called for peace.

“Now is a time for coming together. We must unite in our resolve to protect what we value most – our way of life, our care and respect for each other. Now is a time for unity, as Australians.”




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