#SydneySiege: 'Islamist' hostage drama in Australia
15 December 201423:41 GMT
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that the Iranian-born hostage taker was mentally unstable.
"He [Man Haron Monis] had a long history of violent crime, infatuation with extremism, and mental instability," Abbott said. "As the siege unfolded...he sought to cloak his actions with the symbolism of the ISIL death cult."
Abbott said that Australian authorities knew of Monis' extremist outlook prior to the hostage siege, from threat letters he sent to Australian soldiers deployed in the Middle East.
"We know that he sent offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan and was found guilty of offences related to this," he said. "We also know that he posted graphic extremist material online. Tragically, there are people in our community ready to engage in politically motivated violence."
At the same time, Abbott praised police conduct during the tense hours of the standoff.
- 19:52 GMT
No explosives were found and all 17 hostages were accounted for, police commissioner for the state of NSW, Andrew Scipione, told reporters.
- 16:57 GMT
Australian media reports the gunman murdered a hostage before being killed himself. However, this hasn’t been officially confirmed by NSW police.
- 16:01 GMT
NSW Police cannot confirm breaking reports two people have died in the Sydney siege, saying all they can confirm is that the siege is over.— DeborahClay (@DeborahClay) December 15, 2014
- 15:46 GMT
Police have confirmed the siege is over. At least four hostages and one police officer have been injured, Sky News reports.
Sydney siege is over. More details to follow.— NSW Police (@nswpolice) December 15, 2014