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Victim of Sydney siege died protecting pregnant pal

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Katrina Dawson, 38, died in the siege

Katrina Dawson, 38, died in the siege

Tori Johnson (34) who was the manager of the Lindt Cafe in Sydney. He was reported to the second victim in the siege.

Tori Johnson (34) who was the manager of the Lindt Cafe in Sydney. He was reported to the second victim in the siege.

Hostages run towards armed tactical response police as they run to freedom from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014

Hostages run towards armed tactical response police as they run to freedom from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014

Hostages run towards armed tactical responce police as they run to freedom from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014

Hostages run towards armed tactical responce police as they run to freedom from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014

A injured hostage is carried to an ambulance after shots were fired during  a cafe  siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. New South Wales state police would not say what was happening inside the cafe or whether hostages were being held. But television footage shot through the cafe's windows showed several people with their arms in the air.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

A injured hostage is carried to an ambulance after shots were fired during a cafe siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. New South Wales state police would not say what was happening inside the cafe or whether hostages were being held. But television footage shot through the cafe's windows showed several people with their arms in the air.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

Police rescue personnel carry an injured woman from the Lindt cafe, where hostages are being held, at Martin Place in central Sydney December 16, 2014

Police rescue personnel carry an injured woman from the Lindt cafe, where hostages are being held, at Martin Place in central Sydney December 16, 2014

A blood soaked stretcher is wheeled to an ambulance after shots were fired during  a cafe  siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014

A blood soaked stretcher is wheeled to an ambulance after shots were fired during a cafe siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014

A injured hostage is wheeled to an ambulance after shots were fired during  a cafe siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014

A injured hostage is wheeled to an ambulance after shots were fired during a cafe siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014

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Katrina Dawson, 38, died in the siege

SYDNEY is today coming to terms with the tragedy of the 16-hour siege in a city cafe that claimed the lives of three people.

Heavily-armed police stormed the cafe early yesterday morning.

Today video from inside the terrifying siege has emerged showing some of the hostages inside the cafe, filmed by their captor.

In the video, uploaded by the gunman, three hostages are pictured describing demands made by the gunman – including that he be brought an Islamic State flag.

Meanwhile, a female barrister who died in the Sydney siege has been hailed a hero amid reports she was killed shielding her pregnant friend from gunfire.

Katrina Dawson (38) died along with cafe manager Tori Johnson (34), who was praised for trying to grab the gun off hostage-taker Man Haron Monis at the end of the siege.

Haron Monis, an Iranian refugee and self-styled sheikh known for sending hate mail to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan and who was charged last year with being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife.

A mother of three children under 10, Ms Dawson was a graduate of the University of Sydney Law School. She was called to the bar in 2005 and her offices were in Phillip Street, close to the cafe.

During the siege at the Lindt cafe in Sydney’s central business district, hostages had been forced to display an Islamic flag, igniting fears of a jihadist attack.

Heavy gunfire and blasts from stun grenades filled the air shortly after 2am local time.

Moments earlier, at least six people believed to have been held captive managed to flee after gunshots were heard coming from the cafe, and police said they made their move in response.

“They made the call because they believed at that time that if they didn’t enter there would have been many more lives lost,” said Andrew Scipione, police commissioner for New South Wales.

An investigation would determine whether hostages were killed by the gunman or died in crossfire, Scipione told reporters just before dawn.

Police said a 50-year-old man, believed to be the attacker, was killed. A man aged 34 and a 38-year-old woman were also dead, police said. Four other hostages were wounded.

So far 17 hostages have been accounted for, including at least five others who were released or escaped on Monday.

“This was an isolated incident . . . Do not let this sort of incident bring about any loss of confidence of working or visiting our city. It was the act of an individual,” said Scipione.

Medics tried to resuscitate at least one person after the raid and took away several wounded people on stretchers, said a witness at the scene. Bomb squad members moved in to search for explosives, but none were found.

Television pictures showed the attacker appeared to have been armed with a sawn-off shotgun.

Monis was found guilty in 2012 of sending offensive and threatening letters to families of eight Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, as a protest against Australia’s involvement in the conflict, according to local media reports. He was also facing more than 40 charges of sexual assault.

Although the hostage-taker was known to the authorities, security experts said preventing attacks by people acting alone could be difficult.

The Sydney siege underscores the dangers of “lone wolf terrorism”, said Cornell University law professor Jens David Ohlin, speaking in New York.

“There are two areas of concern. The first is ISIS (Islamic State) fighters with foreign passports who return to their home countries to commit acts of terrorism,” he said.

“The second is ISIS sympathisers radicalised on the internet who take it upon themselves to commit terrorist attacks to fulfil their radical ideology.”

In September, anti-terrorism police said they had thwarted an imminent threat to behead a random member of the public. Days later, a teenager in Melbourne was shot dead after attacking two anti-terrorism officers.

hnews@herald.ie


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