1. National

Urgent review ordered into background of Sydney siege gunman

An urgent review has been ordered by the Australian government to answer a number of "obvious questions" about what could have been done to prevent the deadly siege at a Sydney café.

It comes as police in Sydney revealed they fought to keep gunman Man Haron Monis, who went on to kill two hostages in a 16-hour siege, in custody - but were overruled by the courts, police chiefs have revealed.

The 50-year-old gunman, who died as police stormed the building, was implicated in a string of serious crimes but had still been granted bail.

View all 110 updates ›

Abbott reassures Australians over Sydney siege

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Credit: Reuter

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said the siege situation in Sydney is "deeply concerning" but police were "well trained and equipped" to deal with it.

In a statement, he said: "New South Wales police and the Australian federal police are currently responding to a reported hostage-taking incident in Martin Place in Sydney.

"I have spoken with NSW Premier Mike Baird and offered him all possible Commonwealth support and assistance.

"The National Security Committee of Cabinet has also convened for briefings on the situation.

"This is obviously a deeply concerning incident but all Australians should be reassured that our law enforcement and security agencies are well trained and equipped and are responding in a thorough and professional manner.

"We will provide regular updates as further information becomes available."

More on this story