Home > NEWS > WORLD >

Police storm Sydney cafe to end hostage siege, three dead
December 16,2014   By:Agencies
\

A hostage runs towardsa police officer outside Lindt cafe, where other hostages are being held, in Martin Place in central Sydney, Dec 15, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

SYDNEY, Dec.16, 2014 -- Heavily armed Australian police stormed a Sydney cafe early on Tuesday morning and freed a number of hostages being held there at gunpoint, in a dramatic end to a 16-hour siege in which three people including the attacker were killed.

Police have not publicly identified the gunman but a police source named him as Man Haron Monis, an Iranian refugee and self-styled sheikh known for sending hate mail to the families of Australian troops killed in Afghanistan. He was charged last year with being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the gunman was well known to authorities and had a history of extremism and mental instability.

During the siege at the Lindt cafe in Sydney's central business district, hostages had been forced to display an Islamic flag, igniting fears of a jihadist attack in the heart of the country's biggest city.

Around 2 am local time (1500 GMT on Monday), at least six people believed to have been held captive managed to flee after gunshots were heard coming from the cafe.

Police then moved in, with heavy gunfire and blasts from stun grenades echoing from the building.

"They made the call because they believed at that time if they didn't enter there would have been many more lives lost," said Andrew Scipione, police commissioner for the state of New South Wales.

An investigation would determine whether hostages were killed by the gunman or died in cross-fire, Scipione told reporters just before dawn.

Police said a 50-year-old man, believed to be the attacker, was killed. Television pictures showed he appeared to have been armed with a sawn-off shotgun.

Chinese Dictionary:

@cn_humanrights

For the latest news and analysis from our

reporters and editors:Staff Twitter List>>

E-mail:chinahrs@public.bta.net.cn