SYDNEY - Eight children have been killed and a woman injured, police said on Friday, during what several media outlets reported was a mass stabbing in Australia's tropical northern city of Cairns.
Australia is already in a state of heightened alert after police stormed a Sydney cafe early on Tuesday morning to end a 16-hour hostage standoff in which three people were killed, including the hostage-taker.
Queensland state police said in a statement they were called to a house in the Cairns suburb of Manoora just before midday after reports of a woman with serious injuries on the premises.
They found the bodies of the children, aged between 18 months and 15, when they were examining the location.
The woman is receiving medical treatment for her injuries, police said, and is assisting them with their investigation.