Tony Abbott thanks police for ending siege
Updated: 2014-12-16 14:54
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his wife Margie place floral tributes amongst thousands of others near the Lindt cafe, where hostages were held for over 16-hours, in central Sydney December 16, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
SYDNEY -- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Tuesday that the Sydney siege in which three people were killed shows that Australia was ready to deal with terrorists professionally and with the full force of law.
Abbott came to Sydney on Tuesday to lay flowers at a makeshift memorial in Martin Place, near the cafe where a lone gunman held 17 people hostage on Monday and early Tuesday.
Police raided the cafe early Tuesday shooting the gunman, identified as Man Haron Monis. Two hostages died and four were injured suffering gun shot wounds.
"I want to thank the New South Wales (NSW) Police and all the other agencies involved for their professionalism and courage," Abbott said in a statement.
"Yesterday, Premier (Mike) Baird showed great steadfastness and Sydneysiders can be proud of their calm during what was a very difficult and testing day.
"Australians should be reassured by the way our law enforcement and security agencies responded to this brush with terrorism."
Abbott said there was nothing more Australian than dropping in at the local cafe for a morning coffee and "it's tragic beyond words that people going about their everyday business should have been caught up in such a horrific incident."
"Our hearts go out to all of those caught up in this appalling incident and their loved ones," Abbott said.
"On behalf of all Australians, I extend my sympathy to the families of the two hostages who died overnight."
"These events do demonstrate that even a country as free, as open, as generous and as safe as ours is vulnerable to acts of politically motivated violence."
"But they also remind us that Australia and Australians are resilient and we are ready to respond."
While in Sydney, Abbott was briefed by NSW police and other security agencies and extended his gratitude to the police officers and others involved in this "appalling incident".
"Plainly, there are lessons to be learnt and we will thoroughly examine this incident to decide what lessons can be learnt," Abbott said.
"But I do want now, in the hours immediately after the conclusion of the siege, to offer these words of comfort to those caught up in it and reassurance to the Australian people."