Good to see this thread didn't fall apart while I was asleep...
Until his entry into the global media spotlight as the shadowy figure at the centre of the Sydney siege, Man Haron Monis had long been viewed as a fringe figure in Sydney’s Islamic community, his self-radicalisation rooted in grievances against the Australian government and increasing marginalisation among his peers.
The self-proclaimed spiritual healer had achieved a degree of notoriety as the author of “grossly offensive” letters sent to taunt parents and relatives of Australians killed by extremism in Indonesia as well as troops who lost their lives in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2009.
Well known to the Australian police, he had been consumed by his conviction for the offence, unsuccessfully challenging the conviction in the high court last year and making several vehement and erratic public statements claiming to be innocent.
He also faced numerous charges relating to his time working as a “spiritual healer” – including 22 counts of aggravated sexual assault and 14 counts of aggravated indecent assault – and had been bailed for allegedly being an accessory to the killing of his former wife.
Rupert Murdoch, media magnate and executive chairman of News Corp, is holidaying in his native Australia for Christmas so has been in the country for the siege.
Flags on all NSW Government buildings will fly at half-mast today to honour those who lost their lives in the siege at the Lindt café in Sydney’s CBD, NSW Premier Mike Baird has announced.
The Premier is also inviting people who wish to lay a floral tribute to the victims to do so at Martin Place. Condolence books will also be provided later today near the Martin Place water fountain, facing Pitt Street.
More on the fatally shot hostage who has been named as Katrina Dawson.
She was a barrister who practised in Eight Selborne chambers not far from the Lindt café.
Working in commercial law, her areas of practise were banking and insolvency, bankruptcy commercial Competition and Consumer Law, Corporations Law, Equity and Property.
She had three children.
Flags at Commonwealth Government buildings will also be flown at half mast, along with flags at New South Wales government buildings, prime minister Tony Abbott has announced.
The man shot in the Sydney siege was Lindt Cafe manager, Tori Johnson, ABC is reporting.
He was 34 years old.
Deputy police commissioner, Catherine Burn, says police will not be commenting on the reports surrounding the siege as it is the subject of a police investigation.
She will not comment on reports Lindt cafe manager, Tori Johnson, was trying to wrestle the gun of the gunman when he was fatally wounded. She will not say whether the hostages who fled the siege were released or escaped of their own volition and she will certainly not be saying if the wounded were shot by police or the gunman in the confrontation.
More details on those injured in the siege have been released by New South Wales police:
*A 52-year-old woman was shot in the foot and is in a stable condition.
*A 43-year-old woman was shot in the leg and is in a stable condition.
*A 39-year-old man suffered a minor facial injury due to a gunshot. He has been treated at hospital and discharged.
*A 35-year-old pregnant woman was assessed for health and welfare purposes. She is in a stable condition.
*A 30-year-old pregnant woman was assessed for health and welfare purposes. She is also in a stable condition.
*A 75 year-old woman was shot in the shoulder. She is in a stable condition.
Prime minister Tony Abbott has said the gunman “sought to cloak his actions with the symbolism of the Isil death cult”
The bodies of the three people killed during the siege at Lindt cafe in Martin Place will be examined at the Glebe mortuary by a forensic pathologist who will provide a report to the state coroner concerning the case and how the three died.
The NSW state coroner released a statement saying an inquest is mandatory under the Coroner’s Act as the deaths occurred in the course of a police operation.
Detectives raided the home of Man Haron Monis’s partner this morning in New South Wales, News Corp is reporting
Over in Canberra, the department of foreign affairs, or Dfat, is currently being evacuated for reasons as yet unconfirmed.
The Australian Federal Police bomb squad are at the scene at Dfat in Canberra, responding to a “supicious package.”
This from ACT Policing:
ACT Policing is investigating a suspicious package located in the canteen area of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Barton this afternoon (Tuesday, December 16).
About 1.45pm, ACT Policing received the report of the suspicious package at DFAT on John McEwen Crescent.
ACT Policing provided a coordinated response and cordoned the area as a standard safety precaution.
Evacuations are underway at DFAT and road closures implemented. Members of the AFP Bomb Response Team are in attendance.