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Memorial services for Sydney siege victims begin

Credit: Reuters

Two victims of the deadly siege in Sydney were being remembered at private memorial services, a week after a gunman took them hostage inside a city cafe.

The memorial for Tori Johnson was held at a church close to the Lindt Chocolat Cafe, where he and 17 others were taken hostage on December 15 by shotgun-wielding Man Haron Monis, a 50-year-old Iranian-born, self-styled cleric with a long criminal history.

The stand-off ended 16 hours later when police stormed the cafe in a barrage of gunfire to free the captives.

Mr Johnson, the cafe's 34-year-old manager, and 38-year-old lawyer Katrina Dawson were killed, along with Monis.

Credit: Reuters

Mr Johnson has since been lauded for his heroism, after reports emerged that he tried to wrestle the shotgun away from Monis, sacrificing his life and allowing several of his fellow hostages to escape before police moved in.

His partner of 14 years, Thomas Zinn, and father, Ken Johnson, helped to carry the white coffin into St Stephen's Uniting Church for the service.

Ms Dawson's memorial was scheduled for later today.

Court revokes bail for wife of Sydney hostage-taker

Amirah Droudis was on bail charged in connection with the murder of her husband's former wife. Credit: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

A court in Australia has ordered bail revoked for the wife of Man Haron Monis, a self-styled Sheikh who stormed a Sydney cafe at gunpoint last week, sparking a 16-hour hostage crisis that left three people dead, including the gunman.

Amirah Droudis, on bail after being charged with the stabbing death of Monis' former wife who was found set alight in a Sydney apartment block, was ordered by a Sydney court to return to jail to await trial.

Monis, who had been charged as an accessory to the murder, had also been free on bail.

Chief Magistrate Graeme Henson cited Droudis' prior convictions, the particularly heinous nature of the alleged offence and the slight possibility she might skip bail as factors in deciding to remand her in custody until trial.

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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