Sydney siege: Australian PM Tony Abbott orders review of café terror attack

Hostage-taker Man Haron Monis was not on any security watch list despite being well known to Australian authorities

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The Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has ordered an investigation into Tuesday’s siege in Sydney after tough new security laws and the courts failed to stop a convicted felon from walking into a café with a concealed shotgun.

Three people were killed, including the hostage-taker Man Haron Monis, when police stormed the café early on Tuesday morning to free terrified hostages held at gunpoint for 16 hours. Police are investigating whether the two captives were killed by Monis or died in crossfire.

Monis, a self-styled sheikh who received political asylum from Iran in 2001, was well known to Australian authorities, having been charged as an accessory to murder and with dozens of counts of sexual and indecent assault. He had been freed on bail.

Australia passed sweeping security laws in October aimed at stopping people from becoming radicalised and going to fight in conflicts such as those in Iraq and Syria, where scores of Australians have joined militant groups, as well as preventing attacks at home.


Despite the new powers, Mr Abbott said Monis was not on any security watch list and managed to walk undetected into the Lindt Chocolate Café with a legally obtained shotgun on a busy workday morning.

New South Wales state police later contradicted Mr Abbott’s assertion, telling Reuters in a statement there was no record of Monis having a gun licence.

Monis was convicted in 2012 of sending hate mail to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.