Australian siege cafe to reopen this week

An Australian cafe where a gunman inspired by the Islamic State group took customers and staff hostage in a deadly siege will reopen on Friday, a spokesman said.

AFP| Updated: Mar 17, 2015, 13:03 PM IST

Sydney: An Australian cafe where a gunman inspired by the Islamic State group took customers and staff hostage in a deadly siege will reopen on Friday, a spokesman said.

The incident at chocolate-themed Lindt in Martin Place, in the heart of Sydney`s financial district, ended with the death of two hostages -- cafe manager Tori Johnson and barrister Katrina Dawson, shocking the nation.

Gunman Man Haron Monis, a self-styled cleric with a history of extremist views, was killed by police as they stormed the building in the early hours of December 16, some 16 hours after the ordeal began.

The ground-floor cafe was damaged and has been boarded up since the siege. It has recently undergone renovations.

A spokesman for Lindt said the cafe would reopen to the public at 10am on Friday.

Lindt Australia chief executive Steve Loane said there was an overwhelming desire to create a permanent memorial plaque at the upmarket eatery to the siege victims.

"It was felt this was the right thing to do, to remember Tori and Katrina and their spirit," Loane said, as he thanked the public for their outpouring of support in the wake of the incident.

"This has been an extremely difficult period for so many people impacted by those tragic events. (The support) has truly been a source of strength for everyone and has helped us in our decision to reopen the cafe and move forward."