Police declare Sydney hostage crisis over after two unconfirmed deaths

Police have declared the siege in Sydney over after up to 20 people were held hostage earlier today.

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by Maria Vallahis |
Published on

While most of the U.K. slept, men who were believed to be Islamist extremists locked up to 20 customers and workers for more than 12 hours inside the Lindt cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

The tragic incident began at about 10am this morning when a lone gunman entered the central Sydney café.

At approximately 2am this morning a group of at least seven heavily armed police officers went into the cafe under the cover of loud bangs of what local news Channel 9 is calling stun grenades. Shortly after the police stormed in at least two hostages emerged, looking visibly shaken.

It is reported a few minutes later, a few paramedics were seen entering the café behind police officers with medical packs and followed by at least two stretchers.

The explosive police action came shortly after a new wave of hostages emerged from the shop. According to Australian news reports, the suspect was identified as Man Monis.

Monis is believed to be a self-proclaimed Islamic "sheikh" who is known to Australian police because he was allegedly involved in dozens of counts of sexual assault.

Cafe workers flee from the terror.

Earlier in the day, seven new people fled from the popular Sydney cafe after they had been taken hostage.

Authorities said others were still held inside as neighbouring blocks remain locked down.

Two people inside the cafe were seen holding up a flag with Arabic writing on it that has been used by extremists in the past and raising fears that a terror attack was unfolding.

The first three people who fled sprinted out of the cafe about six hours into the standoff, while two women, wearing aprons, frantically ran from a side exit and into the arms of heavily-armed SWAT team police officers waiting outside.

It is reported two people lost their lives during the Sydney siege.

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