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.
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.