President Obama called Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott late Tuesday to offer assistance in the aftermath of the hostage crisis in downtown Sydney.
The White House said the president also complimented the Australian people for their embrace of a social media campaign to support the country’s Muslim population.
“The President expressed condolences on behalf of the American people to the families that lost loved ones, and his wishes for a speedy recovery to those who were injured,” the White House said in a statement.
Two hostages and a gunman were killed early Tuesday as authorities stormed a downtown Sydney cafe. Man Haron Monis, an Iranian refugee with a history of violent crime and mental instability, had taken a large group hostage inside the restaurant 16 hours earlier. Two other people were injured.
During the prolonged standoff, an anti-Islamophobia effort known by the hashtag #Illridewithyou went viral in the country, earning praise from Obama. Social media users posted that they would share cars and public transportation with Muslims in a show of solidarity.