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Australia's Abbott: Terror Chatter Has Increased Since Sydney Siege

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SYDNEY — Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Tuesday security officials had intercepted a heightened level of "terrorist chatter" in the aftermath of the Sydney cafe siege. As memorial services were held for the two victims of the 16-hour siege a week ago, Abbott warned that the public needed to remain alert as the country headed into Christmas and New Year celebrations.

"The national security agencies today indicated that there has been a heightened level of terrorist chatter in the aftermath of the Martin Place siege," Abbott told reporters in Sydney. Man Haron Monis, a self-styled sheikh, held hostages at gunpoint at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place last week. Two hostages were killed along with Monis when police stormed the cafe.

"I'm alerting people to the fact that the terror level remains high and at this level an attack is likely," Abbott said. Police have said they would be boosting their presence at prominent locations such as Sydney Harbour, home to the Opera House, over the Christmas period.

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— Reuters

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