Three dead as siege ends in fire fight [UPDATED]

Different media are showing different levels of caution in extrapolating events.  Some of what you read below hasn’t had official confirmation.  Australian police will provide the next update at 7 am  (9 am NZ time).  This is what happened after 16 hours of the stand-off:

UPDATE:  More media are confident to report three are dead, the gunman and two hostages.  But no further details are available.  (One News says the third hostage died of a heart attack while in hospital)

Police have confirmed that three people have died following #sydneysiege. Four people were injured
The injuries are reported as not being life threatening.

Police storm in after gunman shoots a hostage

A swarm of heavily armed police stormed a cafe in the heart of downtown Sydney just after 2 am (4 am NZ), ending a siege where a gunman had been holding an unknown number of people hostage for more than 16 hours.

A police spokesman confirmed “the operation is over,” but would not release any further details about the fate of the gunman or his remaining captives.

It increasingly appears that police stormed the café after the gunman shot a hostage.

In the ensuing firefight, the gunman was killed and several hostages injured.

This has yet to be confirmed by police.

After a flurry of loud bangs, police swooped into the Lindt Chocolat Cafe shortly after five or six hostages were seen running from the building.

After the police moved in, one weeping woman was helped out by the officers and at least two other people were wheeled out on stretchers.

A Sydney hospital official says one hostage is receiving treatment for gunshot wound to the leg.

Channel 7 reporter, Chris Reason, who has been reporting live from the 7 newsroom just 50m from the café, said he had been told the events that prompted police to enter the building.

He said a call came from police communications that there was a “hostage down”, prompting the officers to storm the building without warning.

The dramatic scene unfolded shortly after the gunman was identified by local media as Iranian-born Man Haron Monis, who is facing charges including sexual assault and accessory to murder in separate cases.


Man Haron Monis


Monis has long been on officials’ radar. Last year, he was sentenced to 300 hours of community service for writing offensive letters to families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. He was later charged with being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife. Earlier this year, he was charged with the sexual assault of a woman in 2002. He has been out on bail on the charges.

“This is a one-off random individual. It’s not a concerted terrorism event or act. It’s a damaged goods individual who’s done something outrageous,” his former lawyer, Manny Conditsis, told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“His ideology is just so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and objectiveness,” Conditsis said.

Throughout the day, several people were seen with their arms in the air and hands pressed against the window of the cafe, and two people holding up a black flag with the Shahada, or Islamic declaration of faith, written on it.

The Shahada translates as “There is no god but God and Muhammad is his messenger.” It is considered the first of Islam’s five pillars of faith, and is similar to the Lord’s Prayer in Christianity. It is pervasive throughout Islamic culture, including the green flag of Saudi Arabia. Jihadis have used the Shahada in their own black flag.



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