Heavily armed Australian police stormed a Sydney café early on Tuesday morning and freed a number of hostages being held there at gunpoint, in a dramatic end to a 16-hour siege in which three people, including the attacker, were killed.
- The hostage crisis at the Lindt café ended when police stormed the building shortly after 2am local time, Sydney police said.
- The hostage-taker, Man Haron Monis, is one of three fatalities at the scene and that at least four other people were seriously wounded.
- The deceased hostages were a 34-year-old man and 38-year-old woman.
- It remains unclear how many people were held hostage. Some hostages had been seen holding up a black-and-white flag bearing an Islamic message.
- Monis was charged last year with being an accessory to his ex-wife’s murder. He was convicted in 2012 of sending threatening letters to the relatives of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, local media reported. Earlier this year he was charged with the 2002 sexual assault of a Sydney woman.
- Lindt said it would offer support to the victims and their families, as well as any employees affected by the event.
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See below for a look at the hostage stand-off in pictures.
In Pictures: the Sydney café hostage crisis
Office workers were led out of danger early in the day. The attack took place in a busy area near Sydney’s central business district. © AFP
Sydney police cordoned off the area surrounding the café. © AFP
Sydney police stood vigil for more than 16 hours outside the Lindt Café. © AFP
An employee could be seen inside the café during the hostage stand-off. © AFP
A café worker escapes from the hostage stand-off and is helped by police. © AFP
Security forces were at the ready. © AFP
Security forces and emergency services personnel amassed outside the café in the hours before the police raid. © (Screen grab)
Security forces stormed the café at around 2am local time shortly after hearing gunfire from inside the building, police said. © (Screen grab)
Emergency services rushed the wounded to a nearby hospital. © (Screen grab)
Date created : 2014-12-15