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Terror Siege in Sydney Australia as up to 30 people are taken hostage in Cafe

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The fashionable Lindt Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place has become a scene of fear and uncertainty as an unknown armed assailant has forcibly locked the 53 Martin place cafe and has taken staff and customers hostage.

Update 06:00

The Australian State owned Media, the ABC reported this morning (Australian time) that the Gunman that held a 16 hour siege in Sydney central business district has been shot dead along with the deaths of two of the hostages. The Statements came from the NSW Police Commissioner.

Video below. Source ABC Australia

Update 07:50

An hour after three males escaped their captor, two female cafe workers were seen running from the building.

One female, wearing an apron, ran into the arms of waiting police officers outside.

New South Wales Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said she could not confirm how many people were being held hostage, but police believed it was fewer than 30.

Sydney seige

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The fashionable Lindt Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place has become a scene of fear and uncertainty as an unknown armed assailant has forcibly locked the 53 Martin place cafe and has taken staff and customers hostage.

Though authorities are uncertain as to the exact number of hostages, the estimate is that the hostage taker may have taken up to thirty people prisoner.

Heavily armed police have evacuated Martin Place, Sydney Opera House, State Library and all CBD court houses have been evacuated creating an exclusion zone.

An employee at the Lindt cafe, Bruno, arrived for his shift just after the door to the cafe had been closed and locked.

He said:

“I walked up to the door, everyone was sitting down, and the doors were locked, which was pretty weird because they’re never locked. One guy was walking around with a hat and a beard, just walking around. Then I saw the manager and he was talking to another guy, and told me it was an armed robbery, then the police showed up and cordoned off the whole area. Then everyone inside had their arms against the window, hands up.”

The single offender had several of his hostages display a flag in the cafe’s window. The black Islamic flag had white writing translated as:
“There is no God but Allah” and “Mohammed is the messenger of God”

According to some experts this may be an Al Nusra flag, an affiliate of Al Qaeda and part of the Islamic front which is currently battling the Assad government in Syria.

This may indicate that this crime is politically and possibly religiously motivated – but the police have been unable to directly contact the hostage taker who has used on of the hostages, a young man on his personal phone as a proxy to talk to police.

2GB radio host Ray Hadley claims he has talked to one of the hostages in the Lindt cafe. He said the young man was speaking on the phone under direct instruction from a gunman.

Hadley said he did not broadcast the conversation because it wasn’t in anyone’s best interests. He said he had been told to ring the number back soon.

Rather ominously he said the gunman was “talking about other operatives being involved”.

“I could hear the person in the background giving instructions to the young man I was talking to. The young man, remarkably, was quite calm, quite calm, and he was quite happy for us to have his phone number and said ‘I want you to ring me back in 10 minutes for further instructions from the man holding us hostage’.”

Compounding the police’s concerns that a group may be involved has been the discovery of a suspicious package found at the rear of the Martin place Cafe and rumours of another package near a nearby Police station.
Queensland’s police commissioner has also stated he has information that an improvised explosive device is involved in the siege.

Ian Stewart has told the Queensland government that information was now “firming up” that an IED is involved.

Mr Scipione said the siege does not appear to be linked to a number of terrorism arrests made this morning.

He said police were treating the siege as a hostage situation at the moment, but were prepared to escalate their response if needed.

“We have not yet confirmed this is a terrorism-related event,” he said.

“This is a difficult day for everyone involved”

“We want this matter to end peacefully.”

There are no other incidents related to the siege in Sydney, he said, and people shouldn’t be afraid if they see the police in their neighbourhood.

In the meantime the NSW Police Tactical Assault Team will attempt whatever is necessary to get hostages out of the 53 Martin Place building ‘safely,’ according to a security source.

In September, hundreds of police were involved in a series of counter-terrorism raids across Sydney. Police at the time said there had been an ISIS-inspired plot to take a member of the public hostage and execute them.
And yesterday A Sydney man has been charged overnight with anti-terrorism related offences following raids in Sydney’s north-west, confirmed by the Australian Federal Police.

The 25-year-old Beecroft man was arrested by the joint counter-terrorism team as part of investigations into the planning of a terrorist attack on Australian soil.

According to a Fairfax report, one of the men was arrested for financing terrorism as part of the Operation Appleby anti-terror raids carried out in September.

As yet though, the police consider Septembers raids and the arrest yesterday not to be materially connected to today’s siege.

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Karim Immanuel Chemlal
Karim is an Australian writer and Political Activist. Specialising in Futurism, Science Fiction, Politics, Fantasy and History, Karims forth coming book "Amok Rising" will be published in 2016.