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Australian PM: Cairns mass stabbing is 'unspeakable crime'

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has paid tribute to eight children killed in a mass stabbing at a house in Cairns, calling the incident "heartbreaking" and "an unspeakable crime".

He added:

All parents would feel a gut-wrenching sadness at what has happened. This is an unspeakable crime.

Tonight, there will be tears and prayers across our country for these children.

– Tony Abbott

While unrelated, it comes just days after a 16-hour armed siege ended with the death of two hostages and the gunman.

Mr Abbott said these were "trying days" for the country.

Pictures: Forensic teams at scene of mass stabbing

Forensic teams have sealed off a house in the Manoora area of Cairns, Australia, after eight children were found dead in what police say was a mass stabbing.

Forensic teams at the house Credit: 7 News

The children, aged between 18 months and 15 years, were found inside after officers were called to reports of a seriously injured woman in the area.

Police chiefs have sealed off the street and say investigators could be at the house for several days.

Forensic teams at the house Credit: 7 News

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Detectives: 'No concern' for anyone else in Cairns

Police chiefs in Cairns, Australia, have said there is "no concern" for anyone else living near the scene of a mass stabbing which left eight children dead.

The youngsters, aged between 18 months and 15 years, were found dead after reports of a woman who was seriously injured.

Watch a video of Det Insp Bruno Asnicar's press conference here:

DI Asnicar said there was "no need" for anyone else to worry.

A 34-year-old woman was also found at the scene with serious injuries, reported to be the children's mother. She is currently helping police with their inquiries.

Eight children found dead after 'mass stabbing' in Australia

The bodies of eight children aged between 18 months and 15 years have been found at a house in Australia, in what police have said was a "mass stabbing".

Credit: Google Maps

Officers were called to a house in Murray Street, Cairns, after reports of a woman with serious injuries. The children were found dead inside.

The woman, who is in her 30s, is being treated in hospital and is helping police with their investigations.

Hostage's family visit floral tributes to siege victims

The family of one of the hostages killed in the Sydney cafe siege have visited the sea of floral tributes left near the scene by well-wishers.

Tori Johnson, a manager at the Lindt Chocolate cafe where the siege took place, was killed along with fellow hostage lawyer Katrina Dawson.

Speaking after looking at the tributes left to his son today, Ken Johnson, said: "It's a very moving moment. I want to thank everybody for supporting us through this terrible time."

ITV News' Robyn Dwyer reports:

Brother-in-law of hostage 'watched siege unfold on TV'

The brother-in-law of one of the hostages involved in the Sydney cafe siege has described how he broke down in tears after watching the story unfold on TV.

Michael Mickhael, who lives in Ottawa, Canada, told CBC he screamed before breaking into tears when he saw his sister-in law Marcia Mickhael being carried by emergency services after suffering a leg injury during the siege.

Mr Mickhael said: "All of a sudden I saw ... they are carrying her and from her face, I knew that was Marcia and I was relieved at that time.

"I kind of screamed, 'Oh, this is Marcia. Thank God she's alive and I hope everybody will be alive and not [in] captivity and no-one will die.' Then I broke down in tears.

"All you think is the bad things [like] she might not make it, she may die, she may suffer."

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Thousands of flowers left near siege scene

Floral tributes left near scene of siege Credit: Reuters

People are continuing to leave flowers near the cafe in Sydney where two hostages died during a 16-hour siege.

Thousands of bouquets and messages have been left by well-wishers paying tribute to the victims.

Staff from the Lindt cafe also laid a makeshift memorial featuring Lindt chocolate bears, an apron and personal message to staff member Tori Johnson, who was one of two hostages who died in the siege.

Lindt staff pay tribute to staff member Tori Johnson who died in the siege Credit: Reuters

Sydney gunman had dropped off watchlist

The gunman behind the cafe siege in Sydney had dropped off the Australian national security agency's watchlist, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.

Mr Abbott said Iranian-born Man Haron Monis was on the organisation's watchlist in 2008 and 2009 but was later dropped from it.

Speaking to the media, Mr Abbott said: "I don't know why he dropped off the watch list in those days, I really don't."

He said answers were needed as to why Monis, who faced a string of charges including being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife, had been out on bail and also possessed a gun licence.

Mr Abbott said: "We particularly need to know how someone with such a long record of violence and such a long record of mental instability was out on bail after his involvement in a particularly horrific crime,"

He added: "And we do need to know how he seemed to have fallen off our security agency's watchlist back in about 2009."

Australian PM did not speak to gunman during siege

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott did not speak to the gunman in the Sydney cafe siege following police advice.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Abbott said he had been prepared to speak to Man Horis Man after he demanded to speak to him during the 16-hour siege at a cafe in Sydney.

Mr Abbott told reporters: "I said to my office when I became aware of this request that obviously I was prepared to do whatever the police advised was best in these circumstances and the advice we got from police was to have not contact with him."

It comes as he ordered an urgent review into how the security services handled Monis.

Mr Abbott said he wanted answers as to why Monis has been released on bail, had dropped off a terrorism watch list in 2009 and possessed a gun licence.

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