A hostage situation is developing in Sydney, Australia
Five people escaped from Sydney’s Lindt Chocolate Cafe where a gunman took an unknown number of hostages during Monday morning rush hour. Two people inside the cafe earlier held up a flag with an Islamic declaration of faith that has often been used by extremists, raising fears that a terrorist incident was playing out in the heart of Australia’s biggest city. It is unknown on how many hostages are in the cafe.
Reportedly, the Sydney hostage demanded an ISIS flag and a phone call with Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The hostage takers were holding up a black flag with Arabic writing on it reading, “There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God.”
Australian officials are trying to negotiate with the gunman. United States authorities identified the gunman as Man Haron Monis and describing him as a “self-styled muslim sheik.”
Haron is described as a “cleric and activist” on a website in his name, which also likens him to WikiLeaks Julian Assange. Haron drew outrage and convictions for penning offensive letters to war widows over Australia’s war in Afghanistan.
This is the first time Sydney has experience something like this. They are visibly shaken by the whole situation.
The standoff continues.
BREAKING NEWS: Australian officials stormed into the cafe and 11 hostages were rescued. The situation is over.