At this hour, a gunman has taken at least 13 people hostage in a Sydney cafe. The gunman has forced several of the captives to hold a black Islamic flag, possibly an ISIS flag.
Hopefully authorities can bring the hostages to safety and detain the gunman. That might be difficult if the gunman is on a suicide mision and plans to take as many people with him as he can.
UPDATE: The standoff continues, but five of the hostages managed to escape. The gunman claims he has bombs distributed throughout the city and is demanding an ISIS flag and a phone call from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
UPDATE II: The gunman has been identified as Man Haron Monis who is being described as an “Iranian sex offender”. The flag that Monis is making the hostages hold is a Shahada flag affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, an al Qaeda affiliate in Syria and Lebanon.
UPDATE III: At approximately 2 a.m. Australian time, police stormed the Lindt Chocolate Cafe. Six more hostages managed to escaped, but gunfire broke out and two people are dead. It is unclear if Monis is among the dead.
UPDATE IV: Monis is indeed dead as are two hostages who have yet to be identified.
UPDATE V: The two deceased hostages have been identified as Katrina Dawson, a local barrister and Tori Johnson, who was the manager of the Lindt Chocolate Cafe. Johnson apparently lost his life trying to wrest the gun away from Monis in an effort to allow the other hostages to escape. The man died a hero.
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