— Lillian Saleh (@LillSaleh) December 15, 2014
After 16 hours of an unprecedented hostage situation in downtown Sydney, Australia, reports are saying that 3 people are dead, including the hostage-taker: an Iranian immigrant named Man Haron Monis. Several hostages were taken to the hospital with lesser injuries.
The event started around 9:30 AM local time on Monday, December 15 (5:30 PM EST Sunday, Dec. 14), when Monis pulled out a gun at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in a popular area of downtown Sydney. The number of hostages is reported to have ranged anywhere from a dozen to 25.
While some hostages were able to escape hours into the situation, others were made to release Monis’ demands via web videos, as well as hold up a black flag with the Muslim declaration of faith written on it. While not associated with any group, Monis is believed to have previously supported ISIS, which led Australian officials to treat the hostage crisis as a terrorist event. Others are stressing that this is a “lone-wolf” incident with Monis working entirely on his own accord.
The hostage situation ended around 10 AM EST when heavily-armed police forcefully entered the cafe. After the raid, several remaining hostages were seen leaving the building.
A hostage situation that has rocked Sydney is finally over. Read the details here.