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The Lindt Café Siege

The Lindt Café Siege was a hostage situation which took place at the Lindt Café in Martin Place, Sydney on the 15th-16th of December 2014. A lone gunman, Man Haron Monis, took 10 customers and 8 employees hostage within the store which led to a 16-hour stand-off. After a gunshot was heard, officers of the Australian Tactical Operations Unit stormed the café. 2 hostages, Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson, were killed during the raid. Mr. Johnson was murdered by Mr. Monis by a gunshot to the head and Ms. Dawson was killed as a result of police-fired bullet fragments striking the chair she was hiding behind. 3 other hostages and a police officer were also injured.

Two Australian police in tactical gear, one holding a rifle. The text "Lindt Café Siege" and "December 2014" is foregrounded.

The handling of the event by police was criticised in its aftermath. Mitchell McAlister, a former tactical assaulter with the 2nd Commando Tactical Assault Group, questioned the choice of weapons used by the police and suggested that the choice of weapon contributed to Ms. Dawson's death.

"The siege was isolated to the confines of the Lindt Café, which had me wondering why a weapon system such as an M4A1 was favoured over, say, the H&K MP5 or H&K MP5 variants."

Furthermore, it was reported that police ignored an offer by the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, to assist in negotiations, and that the police had little or no direct contact with Mr. Monis throughout the operation.

One of the hostages, Marcia Mikhael, called the 2GB radio station during the evening of the event. After being told she would be put through to police, she stated that the police were doing "nothing":

"They’ve lied to the media saying they’ve been negotiating with (Monis) for the whole day....They have not negotiated, they’ve done nothing. They have left us here to die. That’s what the police is doing."

A psychiatrist for the inquest into the siege described Ms. Mikhael as having begun to exhibit signs of Stockholm syndrome in the lead up to the raid and was "very denigrating of the police position." The inquest was also informed that Mr. Monis had told his hostages not to speak to police negotiators who called in.

In response to the incident, but prior to the NSW coroner releasing their report into the siege, the Fixated Persons Unit was established by New South Wales Police in April of 2017. Its purpose was described as monitoring "extremists and fixated persons who may not fall under Australia’s counter-terrorism laws but nonetheless pose a risk of serious violence." Then-NSW Police Commissioner, Mick Fuller, referred to these persons as those who are “capable of acts of terrorism," “plotting acts of violence," or "obsessed about issues, ideals or individuals."

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