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Live Updates: Sydney Cafe Siege Ends in Rain of Gunfire, Police Confirm

Live Updates: Sydney Cafe Siege Ends in Rain of Gunfire, Police Confirm

11.35 AM UPDATE by Jordan Schachtel: Channel 7 Australia reports gunman, one hostage killed in exchange that ended the siege:

10.43 AM UPDATE by Frances Martel: Police confirm to the Sydney Morning Herald that the siege is over. A reporter describes its conclusion:

The exchange was started by three discrete bangs. The first brought about five people from the building. A space followed between the subsequent two and then a near-continuous volley rang out. Dozens of shots.

Police are not releasing information on the nature of injuries sustained at the conclusion of the siege, nor of the terrorist’s status.

10.36 AM UPDATE by Frances Martel: ABC News 24 note that they have no way of being certain the siege is over and police have not yet freed the area, but that the area appears calm and police are searching the building. An alarm can be heard going off, and police and medical personnel are standing outside the door of the cafe, where it was previously unsafe for them to be standing due to the gunman’s presence– indicating the gunman has, in some way, been subdued.

10.34 AM UPDATE by Frances Martel: After more than 17 hours, the hostage crisis in Martin Square appears to be over. Live footage shows police looking through the building, and there are reports of a bomb-seeking robot going through the café:

No word yet on whether the terrorist orchestrating the siege is alive.

10.25 AM UPDATE by Frances Martel: Now reports of multiple individuals being taken out of the café in stretchers. Channel 9’s livestream is still up:

10.16 AM UPDATE by Frances Martel: It appears the police are storming the café and taking hostages out. Paramedics can be seen carrying people out. Australia’s Channel 7 reporting at least one person shot and in critical condition.

10.16 AM UPDATE by Frances Martel: Multiple news sources reporting “gunfire” and loud noises from within Lindt café:

ABC News confirms it is police storming the café from the inside:

10.07 AM UPDATE by Frances Martel: Australia’s 9 News livestream of the area outside of the Lindt café just aired footage of six hostages running out of the café through a side door. Reports note they are trying to confirm how many hostages total have escaped since the ordeal began. Watch 9 News’ livestream here.

9.31 AM UPDATE by Frances Martel: The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that authorities have identified the terrorist conducting the hostage operation as Man Haron Monis, a 50-year-old Iranian national Man Haron Monis, known well to police after having been “charged with more than 50 allegations of indecent and sexual assault relating to time allegedly spent as a self-proclaimed ‘spiritual healer’ who dealt with black magic at a premises in western Sydney more than a decade ago.”

9.23 AM UPDATE by Frances Martel: In the midst of the siege, which has continued into the night in Sydney, the hashtag #illridewithyou has become a worldwide trending topic, intended to show solidarity with moderate Muslims in light of the terror attack. More from Joel Pollak here.

7.00 AM UPDATE by Nick Hallett: Another siege in the Belgian city of Ghent is currently not believed to be related to the ongoing situation in Sydney.

6.35 AM UPDATE by Nick Hallett: Multiple nationalities among hostages.

6.20 AM UPDATE by Nick Hallett: As night draws in in Sydney the hostages are being held in darkness.

4:40 AM UPDATE by Nick Hallett: Sky News reports the gunman is “well known” to local police and media.

2:00 AM UPDATE by Jordan Schachtel: Australia Channel 10 reports that the hostage taker has told media he has two demands: to speak with Australia PM Abbott, and for an ISIS flag to be brought to him.

1:35 AM UPDATE: More hostages have escaped the building.

12:27 AM UPDATE by Mary Chastain: Negotiators are talking to the hostage.

11:55 PM UPDATE – Jordan Schachtel/Mary Chastain: Australia’s Channel 7 TV just said the three hostages were “released” through the side door.

11:40 PM UPDATE by Mary Chastain: Two hostages may have escaped.

11:35 PM UPDATE by Mary Chastain: The Grand Mufti of Australia has released a statement:

His Eminence the Grand Mufti of Australia, the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) supported by the Muslim Community have been devastated by the recent news that have been circulated in the media agencies about the reported hostage situation unfolding in Martin Place in Sydney.

The Grand Mufti and the Australian National Imam Council condemn this criminal act unequivocally and reiterate that such actions are denounced in part and in whole in Islam.

We along the wide Australian society await the results of the investigation about the identity of the perpetrators and their underlying motivations behind this criminal act.

His Eminence the Grand Mufti, the Australian National Imams Council and the Muslim community express their full support and solidarity with the victims and their families and aspire to a peaceful resolve to this calamity.

11:20 PM UPDATE by Jordan Schachtel: The New York Times suggests Muslim anger is possibly behind the hostage taking:

“Mr. Abbot responded quickly to President Obama’s appeal for support in the fight against Islamic State, sending a squadron of fighter jets and several hundred Australian military personnel to the Middle East. The move was criticized by some analysts in Australia as likely to foment more anger from young Muslim extremists…” [emphasis added]

11:13 PM UPDATE by Mary Chastain: After 4 hours, authorities have not yet made contact with the hostage taker.

#MartinPlaceSiege now entering 5th hour. Still no direct contact with the terrorist. Thoughts & prayers to all hostages. #MartinPlace

— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) December 15, 2014

11:03 PM UPDATE by Jordan Schachtel: Lindt Chocolate Cafe Australia releases a statement on the hostage situation: 

We would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and kind support over the current situation at the Lindt Chocolate Café at Martin Place. We are deeply concerned over this serious incident and our thoughts and prayers are with the staff and customers involved and all their friends and families. The matter is being dealt with by the authorities and we are waiting for any updates from them.

10:35 PM UPDATE by Mary Chastain: Uber has issued another statement clarifying its pricing. 

Uber Sydney trips from CBD will be free for riders. Higher rates are still in place to encourage drivers to get into the CBD.

— Uber Sydney (@Uber_Sydney) December 15, 2014

10:25 PM UPDATE by Jordan Schachtel: NSW Police issued a statement on the flag held by hostages. 

NSW Police: It’s a flag that we’ve had people looking at. We’re working with partner agencies to better determine what we’re dealing with.

— ABC News 24 (@ABCNews24) December 15, 2014

10:01 PM UPDATE by Katie McHugh: CNN reports that NSW Premier Mike Baird has issued a statement. 

“We are being tested today in Sydney,” Baird said. “But whatever the test, we will face it head-on.”

9:58 PM by Ian Hatchett: Watch Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott give a statement on Breitbart TV. 

A transcript of the speech can be found below. 

TRANSCRIPT: Australian Prime Minister Abbott addresses hostage crisis http://t.co/SE1VjHYecF Via @BNONews

— PzFeed Top News (@PzFeed) December 15, 2014

9:48 PM UPDATE by Mary Chastain: Uber explains its price increases. 

MT @Uber_Sydney: … Fares have increased to encourage more drivers to come online & pick up passengers in the area. #sydneysiege

— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) December 15, 2014

9:41 PM UPDATE by Mary Chastain:

RT @702sydney: A photo of armed police at Martin Place. Photo by our reporter @John__Donegan #MartinPlaceSiege pic.twitter.com/LY73QY4G8U

— John Batchelor (@batchelorshow) December 15, 2014

9:32 PM UPDATE by Mary Chastain: Uber has raised its prices in light of the hostage situation, according to Mashable. 

Uber introssurge pricing in downtown Sydney during hostage siege http://t.co/XWGe9MpUzU pic.twitter.com/cwhIiozFNr

—Mashable (@mashable) December 15,2014

9:25 UPDATE from AFP: President Barack Obama has been briefed on the Sydney hostage situation, according to a White House official.  

9:21 PM UPDATE by Mary Chastain: Skittish news outlets are calling the incident a “possible” hostage situation, according to Twitter users. 

THIS IS AHOSTAGE SITUATION! pic.twitter.com/iIyDBppv0t

—Soulless Ginger (@mchastain81) December15, 2014

9:15 PM UPDATE by Katie McHugh: Australian Prime Minister Abbott urged his countrymen to “go about your business as usual” as the hostage situation unfolds, adding his thoughts are with the hostages “caught up in” the situation. 

9:09 PM UPDATE by Mary Chastain: The NSW Commissioner will hold a conference shortly.

BREAKING: NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione to hold press conference shortly

— PzFeed Top News (@PzFeed) December 15, 2014

9:05 UPDATE by Katie McHugh: The U.S. consulate is sending emergency messages to American citizens in Sydney.

JUST IN: US Consulate in Sydney issues emergency message to US citizens to “maintain a high level of vigilance” due to hostage situation.

— ABC News (@ABC) December 15, 2014

8:56 PM UPDATE by Mary Chastain:

BREAKING UPDATE: The latest footage from Sydney siege shows a man holding a female hostage as a human shield. #9News pic.twitter.com/pJ5gsqgjQL

— PzFeed Top News (@PzFeed) December 15, 2014

8:55 UPDATE by Jordan Schachtel: The nearby U.S. consulate has been evacuated. Spokesperson urged Americans to “maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security,” according to Yahoo News.

8:51 PM UPDATE by Mary Chastain: BBC News interviewed a man claiming law enforcement evacuated a hospital. The bomb squad was called into the hospital, but it was declared safe. Non-essential people are still being evacuated. 

7 cameramanScott Lipman says the bomb squad has just investigated a suspiciousbackpack near St Vincent’s hospital in Sydney- declaredSAFE

— Kristy Mayr (@KristyMayr7) December15, 2014

8:47 PM UPDATE by Mary Chastain: 

#MartinPlace is like Sydney’s #TimesSquare to draw comparison.It’s deserted on Monday morning….Unheard of..#SydneySiege

— Baron Wasteland Abe (@T3mpu5_Fug1t) December 15, 2014

8:42 PM UPDATE by Jordan Schachtel: Officials are urging citizens not to reveal police positions on social media.

8:38 PM UPDATE by Jordan Schachtel: The Lindt Australia CEO says, “The best information is that there’s like 40 or 50 people in there, customers and employees included. That’s a rough figure.”

8:37 PM UPDATE by Katie McHugh: ABC News reports that the Australian prime minister will speak shortly on their network’s livestream. 

8:35 PM UPDATE by Katie McHugh: Politico reporter Maggie Haberman rewteeted a starting new report:

BREAKING: Gunman says four devices are located around Sydney. Security response underway. Police calling for calm@20committee v @PzFeed

— Silver Surfer (@RobPulseNews) December 15, 2014

8:18 PM UPDATE by Jordan Schachtel: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will hold a press conference to address the ongoing situation at 8:30 PM E.T. 

8:11 PM UPDATE by Jordan Schachtel: A picture of the alleged gunman has surfaced. 

#UPDATE: Footage captured of the alleged gunman holding up 13 people in #MartinPlaceSiege http://t.co/VIxJv9fKpT pic.twitter.com/Cgkrw8VpQ4

— The Daily Telegraph (@dailytelegraph) December 15, 2014

8:03 PM UPDATE by Jordan Schachtel: Sydney Channel 7 is now reporting that a man with a suspicious package went missing in Sydney hospital. The hospital is just feet away from where the hostage situation is taking place. 

8:02 PM UPDATE by Mary Chastain: The Lindt Café is in the middle of the financial hub of Sydney.

Lindt Cafe in the heart of Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD). #sydneysiege pic.twitter.com/woEsNg2VnG

— Andy Carvin (@acarvin) December 15, 2014

7:57 PM UPDATE by Frances Martel: The premier of NSW has issued a statement on the attack.

NSW Premier Mike Baird says his thoughts and prayers are with the people in the #sydneysiege. http://t.co/7NdqPYhwcY pic.twitter.com/I71KEcYFIy

— ABC News (@abcnews) December 15, 2014

7:56 PM UPDATE by Katie McHugh: One Twitter user points out that the flag the suspect forced hostages to hold up is a Jabat Al-Nusra Front flag. 

The flag in the Lindt shop is not an ISIS flag but a Jabat Al-Nusra Front flag. Not that it matters. pic.twitter.com/r3eap2Wr9z

— Bill (@DefendWallSt) December 15, 2014

7:55 PM UPDATE by Mary Chastain:A tweet allegedly shows one of the terrorists.

BREAKING PHOTO: First images of one Sydney hostage taker, Middle Aged man wearing black bandana – News7 pic.twitter.com/1yFzJTQgeh

— JJ greenwald (@YGreenwald) December 15, 2014

7:53 PM UPDATE by Katie McHugh: CNN is reportedly blurring out the jihadi flag on its broadcast. 

CNN blurring out Islamist flag.

— S.M (@redsteeze) December 15, 2014

7:52 PM UPDATE by Mary Chastain: 7News Sydney reports the suspect had one gun.

7:44 PM UPDATE by Jordan Schachtel: Australian media reports the suspect is wearing a blue backpack and sporting what is being perceived as a suicide vest.

7:31 PM UPDATE by Mary Chastain: The suspects’ intentions are unclear, though sources have told Australia’s news.abc.au that the men taking the café hostage are allegedly demanding to speak to Prime Minister Tony Abbott live on the radio.

Black Islamic flag being held up in window of #lindt chocolate store in Martin Place, Sydney – hostages inside. pic.twitter.com/fAV7PEuY6P

— Andrew Denney (@Andrew_Denney) December 14, 2014

@Breaking911: Buildings on Lockdown Around #martinplace #Sydney Hostage Crisis @JakeSturmer pic.twitter.com/pYym7ZziDW http://t.co/gHV5dWyoDw

— Mike Redding (@ReddingWriting) December 15, 2014

Sydney Opera House evacuated after suspect package found https://t.co/aQp2Q9eUhN #sydneysiege

— Yasmin (@yasminancona) December 15, 2014

The Sydney Opera house has been evacuated following the siege at Martin Place.

— Evana (@evana_abade) December 15, 2014

People and media are gathering behind “safe” barricaded part of #MartinPlace, #Sydney. pic.twitter.com/KT8M90eWuu

— αηιs (@H0XH4) December 15, 2014

VIDEO: Hostages in Sydney cafe forced to raise Islamic flags http://t.co/4eE1IMp2jA pic.twitter.com/jAnV4Nxmqc

— Connor Ryan (@connortryan) December 15, 2014

7:07 PM UPDATE: (AFP) Hostages were being held inside a cafe in central Sydney Monday with a siege underway and an Islamic flag held up to a window, reports and witnesses said.

Martin Place in the central business district was shut down as scores of police surrounded the Lindt Chocolat Cafe, with TV pictures showing a flag, black with white Arabic writing, held to a window.

BREAKING: Hostages are being forced to hold an ISIS flag at a Lindt cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place, as police man the doors outside #7NEWS

— Kristy Mayr (@KristyMayr7) December 14, 2014

Sydney Australia: Not technically ISIS flag but Shahadah flag with Islamic creed on it. Commonly used by militants: pic.twitter.com/s7kg2wSrlQ

— Mubin Shaikh (@CaliphateCop) December 14, 2014

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