Hostages held at Sydney CBD café

Earlier in the morning, police apparently arrested a man after a counterrorism raid in a Sydney suburb.

Police have asked the public to stay away from Martin Place, home of the offices of the nation’s Reserve Bank and some of Australia’s largest companies.

Two hostages inside the shop were seen
holding up a black flag with Arabic script

Witnesses saw a man with a bag and gun walk into the Lindt chocolate shop and cafe. Police shut down the area, closing roads and moving people away. The Martin Place station was also closed.

Twenty hostages have been taken by gunmen – apparently Islamic extremists - at a popular café in Martin Place, the heart of Sydney. The siege began at the Lindt chocolate shop café at about 9.45am, local time, and has brought the city to a standstill.

An employee and a terrified customer were among
those standing with their hands up against the window

Workers in nearby Martin Place buildings, including the Seven Network, have been ordered to evacuate the area. Police are advising people to steer clear of the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place.

A woman who was about to enter the cafe said she had seen a man with a shotgun and immediately called the police.

Australian police say they are also responding to an "incident" at Sydney Opera House. The Opera House was evacuated after a suspicious package was found, television channels are reporting.

Trains and buses have been stopped and roads are blocked in the area. Train operators are saying there has been a bomb threat at Martin Place. Dozens of police including a SWAT team are there and a couple of hundred people are being held back by cordons.

A lot of police have already surrounded the cafe in Martin Place

A police spokesman says no injuries have been reported.

The person behind the siege has reportedly claimed he wants to speak to Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, live on radio. He reportedly told police negotiators he had “devices all over the city”.

Mark Schliebs clarifies the identity of the flag. He writes: The flag at Martin Place appears to a generic “Shahada” flag - featuring the expression of the Islamic faith - and not the one commonly used by Islamic State.

The use Shahada flag, and not one of a specific organization, means the gunmen could be sympathetic to any group or are simply acting as individuals.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he has convened the National Security Committee for emergency briefings.

"This is obviously a deeply concerning incident but all Australians should be reassured that our law enforcement and security agencies are well trained and equipped and are responding in a thorough and professional manner," the prime minister's office says in a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers today are with the innocent people involved in this morning's incident in Martin Place, Sydney. Our thoughts are also with their families who are seeing this incredibly distressing situation unfold, along with the rest of Australia” said Bill Shorten, leader of the Opposition.

Three male hostages have been spotted running out of a central Sydney cafe almost six hours after a terrorist armed with a gun took dozens of people hostage and forced crying women to hold a black Islamic flag up to the window.

About six hours into the siege, an employee wearing an apron and two people believed to be customers ran out of the Lindt cafe in Martin Place via a fire exit and hid behind heavily armed police officers shortly before 3.45pm on Monday.

It is believed they escaped from the cafe and were not released. 

Two of the hostages running from the cafe a short time ago

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described the incident as "deeply concerning".

He said it was not yet clear who was behind the incident but that it could be politically motivated, and that the National Security Committee had been briefed.

Thank you so much for dropping by and reading this article. Visit our website regularly for more interesting and trending news and stories.

If you enjoyed this post, please share this with your friends and if you have any comment, please write below. Thanks!

Hostages held at Sydney CBD café Hostages held at Sydney CBD café Reviewed by TrendSpot on Monday, December 15, 2014 Rating: 5

No comments