Eight children ranging from babies to teenagers were found dead at a home in the Australian city of Cairns Friday, police said, reportedly in a gruesome mass stabbing just days after a deadly siege in Sydney.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott called the Cairns tragedy heartbreaking, with Australia already in an outpouring of national grief over Monday's dramatic standoff in Sydney, which left two hostages and the gunman dead.
"All parents would feel a gut-wrenching sadness at what has happened," he said in a statement. "This is an unspeakable crime."
Cairns police said they were called to the scene in the northern city and found the bodies of the children, aged between 18 months and 15 years.
A woman in her 30s, who police said is believed to be the mother of seven of the dead children, was injured in the incident in the suburb of Manoora, 10 minutes from the city centre. TV footage showed her being stretchered into an ambulance.
The victims have not yet been officially identified but police said late Friday that the eighth child is not from the same family group, as they said there were no formal suspects for the distressing deaths.