Photographs Of Sydney's Cafe Siege Victims, Lawyer Katrina Dawson And Cafe Manager Tori Johnson
Photographs of Sydney's cafe siege victims, lawyer Katrina Dawson (L) and cafe manager Tori Johnson are displayed in a floral tribute near the site of the siege in Sydney's Martin Place, December 23, 2014. A funeral for Johnson and memorial for fellow siege victim, lawyer Katrina Dawson were held on Tuesday, one week after both died in the siege. Reuters/Jason Reed

The Australian Army was prepared to infiltrate the Lindt Chocolate Café during the Sydney Siege in December. The army reportedly had been practicing for hours to storm the place, where Man Haron Monis held the customers and staff of the café hostage.

The fateful 16-hour ordeal ended on the early hours of Dec. 16 with three people killed, Monis and two victims. According to preliminary reports, one of the victims, barrister Katrina Dawson, died from a ricocheted bullet fired by the NSW police when they stormed inside. There had been criticisms on how the police handled the situation, with some people saying the task should have been left to the army as they are trained for that.

According to News Corp, the army almost took over the operation. The army erected a mock café at the Holsworthy Army Barracks to practise how six hours on how to enter the building. The replica was built within hours of the start of the hostage-taking on Dec. 15.

“The army did not set up the exercise in isolation,” the paper quoted an unnamed senior police officer. “It was with the knowledge and help of NSW police.” A military official apparently advised senior NSW police and Australian Federal Police officers of the different tactical outcomes from their exercise at the mock café.

The Sydney Siege at Martin Place also resulted in café manager Tori Johnson being killed. According to preliminary investigations, Johnson was killed by Monis execution-style. This prompted the police to storm inside the café to end the situation. However, during the stand-off, Dawson was hit by a ricocheting bullet allegedly fired by the police.

A joint and federal report into the terrorist event is expected to be released to the public by the end of February. Also, the Lindt Chocolate Café will be reopening later this month, with a permanent memorial set up in honour of Dawson and Johnson.