Sydney Hostages: Police Storm Cafe, End Siege

Police stormed a cafe in Sydney where a gunman had been holding more than a dozen hostages, bringing an end to a siege that had lasted 16 hours.

According to The Daily Mail, Police used automatic weapons and stun grenades in the assault. Three people were removed from the scene on stretchers, although it was unclear if they were hostages or the gunman. Reports suggested that two people had been killed and three injured, though that could not be confirmed. According to CBS News, Police in Sydney have confirmed that multiple fatalities and injuries occurred, though the fate of the suspected gunman has not been revealed.

The police raid began shortly after 2 a.m., triggered by several hostages leaving the cafe. At first, one hostage emerged with his hands up and lay down on the ground in front of police. Seconds later, a group of five hostages emerged, seemingly having escaped the cafe. This triggered Police tactical units, which moved in.

In a gunfight lasting less than two minutes, Police blasted open the cafe door, lobbing stun grenades inside. More hostages emerged after Sydney police raided the cafe, and a bomb disposal robot was seen entering the building.

As the Inquisitr recently reported, the man behind the hostage situation was identified as self-proclaimed Islamic cleric Man Haron Monis. A 49-year-old man living in southwest Sydney but originally from Iran, Monis was known to authorities for sending hate mail to the families of Australian dead soldiers between 2007 and 2009.

The hostage situation began during morning rush hour in Sydney, and though authorities confirm that Monis had previously been arrested for extremist activity, there is no known connection between the gunman and any potential plot in the U.S., according to a law enforcement source referenced by CBS News.

Videos of at least three people who appeared to be inside the Sydney cafe surfaced on YouTube during the siege, as several women identifying themselves as hostages relayed the gunman’s demands.

[Image: AP via the Daily Mail]