Update: Sydney Hostage Taker Demands ISIS Flag, As Some Captives Escape

A gunman holding hostages in a Sydney cafe is said to be demanding an ISIS flag and a phone call with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
The reported demands emerged after five hostages managed to flee the building, leaving an unknown number of people still trapped inside, CNN affiliate Sky News Australia reported
The gunman’s requests were made through hostages who contacted several media organisations. Hundreds of police officers, some of them armed with sniper rifles, shut down a usually bustling area in Australia’s most populous city amid the crisis.
Chilling images from local media showed people, believed to be hostages, with their hands pressed against the glass of the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney’s central business district. Footage showed them holding up a black flag with Arabic writing on it that reads: “There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God.” That flag was different from the flag used by the terrorist group ISIS.
After hours of tension and uncertainty, three people were seen running out of the cafe. “They are now out of the building and they are now with police,” said New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn, declining to give details about whether they escaped or were let go. She said police negotiators are in touch with a hostage taker.
After the first group’s dash to safety, video from CNN affiliate Seven Network showed two women rushing out of the cafe. Authorities said many of the details about the situation remained unclear, notably the motivations of the hostage taker. Police repeatedly referred to only one hostage taker but said they hadn’t ruled out the possibility that others were involved.
“We don’t know whether this is politically motivated, although obviously there are some indications that it could be,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters, describing it as “a very disturbing situation.”

You should also read

Sign up for our Newsletter

Enter your email and stay on top of things,

Subscribe!