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Netanyahu sends condolence letter to Australian PM

PM calls Sydney siege a ‘brutal terrorist attack,’ highlights common struggle against Islamist terrorism

Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott (left) meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 23, 2014. (Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash 90)
Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott (left) meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 23, 2014. (Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash 90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent an official letter of condolence to his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott Tuesday after two people were killed the day before during a hostage standoff at a Sydney coffee shop.

Netanyahu called the deadly 16-hour standoff with an Islamist gunman a “brutal terrorist attack,” and highlighted the common struggle against terrorism faced by both countries.

“Israel and Australia face the same scourge of ruthless Islamist terrorism which knows no geographic bounds and which targets innocent civilians indiscriminately. Now, more than ever, the international community must join hands and work together to defeat these forces of evil, which threaten the security of all civilized nations,” Netanyahu wrote.

“Kindly convey our deepest condolences to the families of the victims. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the people of Australia at this difficult time,” the letter concludes.

The standoff ended Tuesday after heavily armed police stormed the Lindt cafe, killing the gunman. Two hostages were also killed.

Australian Channel 7 shows the hostages at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney, Australia, displaying an Islamic flag, December 15, 2014. (Screenshot)
Australian Channel 7 shows the hostages at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney, Australia, displaying an Islamic flag, December 15, 2014. (Screenshot)

The Iranian-born gunman was identified as 50-year-old Man Haron Monis, who once was prosecuted for sending offensive letters to families of Australian troops killed in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Abbott said Monis had “a long history of violent crime, infatuation with extremism and mental instability.”

Authorities stressed that the actions were by a lone, disturbed individual and weren’t part of any larger terrorist plot.

AP contributed to this report.

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