Hundreds gather on Sydney's Bondi Beach to mourn Westfield attack victims

By Cordelia Hsu

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Hundreds gathered on Sydney's Bondi Beach on Sunday evening, lighting candles as the sun set, to mourn the six people killed in a knife attack in the area's Westfield shopping mall a week ago.

Joel Cauchi, a 40-year-old who had suffered with mental health issues, killed five women and a male security guard in the mall on April 13 before being shot dead by police.

"We think of everyone still trying to come to terms with the hole in their life where a loved one should be," Prime Minister Antony Albanese told the crowd.

"To the families and friends who are here with us, and to all who are with us in spirit, please know this - that every Australian is thinking of you."

A local choir sang hymns.

"I think the atmosphere was quite calming, just relaxing and understanding," said Mona Lemoto, who was at the event.

"I think there was a lot of connection and really respecting families and communities."

Local media said Amy Scott, the police officer who shot dead the attacker, attended along with politicians and civic leaders.

Sydney is generally one of the world's safest cities and has strict anti-gun and knife laws.

Just two days after the mall attack, an assailant stabbed and wounded an Assyrian bishop in the west of the city.

(Reporting by Cordelia Hsu in Sydney; Writing by Alasdair Pal; Editing by Frances Kerry)