SYDNEY (AFP) - Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday offered sympathy to Pakistan after a deadly Taleban raid on a school, as Australia deals with the fallout from a cafe siege by a deranged gunman.
Mr Abbott said the carnage at the school in the north-western city of Peshawar, in which at least 141 people died, mostly children, was hard to comprehend.
"Well it is simply impossible to put into words, the mixture of grief and fury that must be felt by people in Pakistan, and indeed around the world, at this latest terrorist atrocity," he told ABC radio. "And I hope, I hope in my deepest heart that somewhere in the hearts of people who might otherwise be attracted to this, there is a realisation that it is never, ever right to kill innocent people. And that's what we've seen on a mass scale in Pakistan overnight."
Mr Abbott's comments come with Australia picking up the pieces after a near 17-hour siege in a central Sydney cafe in which an Iranian-born man, who unfurled an Islamic flag, took 17 hostages.
The gunman, who had a history of extremism, and two hostages died as the police stormed the eatery early Tuesday, sparking an outpouring of grief for the innocent victims, from both ordinary Australians and the Muslim community.