The gunman holding people hostage in a Sydney cafe has been identified as Iranian refugee Man Haron Monis pictured), who was granted political asylum in Australia.
Police say they will maintain central Sydney in lockdown until the hostages are brought out unharmed.
A black Islamic flag has been displayed at the window. The number of those held in the Lindt cafe is unknown. Five people earlier ran from the cafe, located in Martin Place. Reports suggest it is unclear whether they were released or escaped.
It appears the gunman used three of the hostages to pass on demands, forcing them stand beside a black flag and having them make statements to a camera.
News organisations say he has contacted them to issue demands, which police have urged media not to report.
Let’s all hope that the situation is resolved as soon as possible. Earlier today we reported about how Social Media users had responded to the situation with a heart-warming new trend to show solidarity between Muslim’s and other Australian’s.
Since publishing this article police have forced their way into the cafe and ended the 16 hour siege. Initial reports suggest that several people were injured. Unconfirmed local reports say that two men, one of whom was the gunman, have died.
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