At least 15 hostages remain in the building
An armed man launched a mid-morning siege in the Australian city of Sydney and took hostages in a downtown cafe, causing police to lock down the city’s centre.
The assailant walked into a cafe in the city and forced hostages to display in the window an Islamic flag popular among Islamist militant groups such as Islamic State and al Qaeda, causing fears that the attack may be linked to terrorism.
Panicked cafe workers and customers ran out of the Lindt chocolate cafe and at least five hostages have managed to escape or been released since the hostage situation began.
At least 15 hostages still remain in the cafe and are made to stand for long periods of time against the cafe’s window before being replaced by another fellow hostage.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that the seige could be politically motivated.
He said, “This is a very disturbing incident. I can understand the concerns and anxieties of the Australian people”.
Police commissioner Andrew Scipione said: “We have moved to a footing that would be consistent with a terrorist event.”