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Families of Sydney cafe siege victims visit the scene

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By Seamus Kearney
Families of Sydney cafe siege victims visit the scene

There have been emotional scenes in Australia, as the families of the hostages killed in the Sydney cafe siege visited the field of flowers laid out in tribute to their loved ones.

Cafe manager Tori Johnson and mother of three and lawyer Katrina Dawson died along with the gunman after a stand-off that lasted 16 hours.

Police stormed the Lindt chocolate cafe after they heard shots fired. The gunman, Man Haron Monis, was an Iranian refugee known to the police for his extremist views on Islam. He also had a long history of violent offending.

The father of Tori, Ken Johnson, said: “I have just one thing to say: my son, his love is immense, but his bravery is immeasurable.”

Tori’s partner, Thomas Zinn, said: “I’d like him to be remembered as a humble and a very generous person, and he really made it very clear that family is the most important thing in our lives. And we have to cherish that, make sure we spend enough time with our families, that’s absolute priority.”

Steven Loane, the Chief Executive of Lindt Australia, the owners of the cafe, also visited the scene. He did not say when it would reopen. “At the moment all we’re concerned about is the families of the people who’ve been involved,” he said. “No decision has been made.”

Police are investigating if the two victims were killed by the gunman or died in crossfire. Numerous other customers managed to escape.

Meanwhile, police raids were carried out across Sydney on Thursday, but authorities say they are not connected to the cafe siege.