Terror in Sydney as gunman takes at least 13 hostages at Lindt cafe, forces crying women to hold black Islamic flag against the window and ‘demands to speak to Tony Abbott’
At least 13 people are being held hostage by terrorists who stormed into a central Sydney cafe with a gun and forced crying women to hold a black Islamic flag up to the window.
Witnesses described how a man wearing a headband covered in Arabic walked into the Lindt cafe in Martin Place and produced a shotgun from a blue bag at around 9.45am.
Shortly afterwards hostages were seen with their hands pressed against the windows holding up the Shahada flag.
There are claims that the terrorists are also armed with a machete and may have explosives but this has not been confirmed by police.
One of the hostage-takers has made contact with officers saying that he has ‘devices all over the city’ and ‘wants to speak with the prime minister live on radio’, according to Ray Hadley, from 2GB.
The incident began just hours after a 25-year-old suspect was arrested in a terror raid in Sydney.
Officials have also evacuated the Opera House after reports of a suspicious device.
Martin Place has been shut down and scores of police are surrounding the building after the alarm was raised about 9.45am.
Journalist Chris Kenny, who was in the shop about 20 minutes before the siege began, said he understood the automatic glass sliding doors had been disabled.
‘I did speak to a couple of people who saw a bit more of this unfold than I did,’ he said.
‘One woman said she tried to go into the shop just after I came out with my takeaway coffee but the doors wouldn’t open.
‘So obviously whoever is doing this has disabled the automatic glass sliding doors to stop anyone else going in and she said immediately she could see there was a weapon.
‘The woman was quite frantic but very clear what she was telling (the police).
‘I know the faces of the people who are sitting there enjoying a morning coffee.
The Seven Network newsroom, which is in a building opposite the cafe, has been evacuated and other buildings in Martin Place, including the nearby Westpac building, have been cleared.
‘We’re just recommending no one go near Martin Place at the moment,’ a NSW Police spokeswoman said.
Martin Place train station has been closed and Qantas announced it had diverted all flights around Sydney’s CBD.
Another woman who works in the government building opposite the cafe tried to call her her office to say she couldn’t get past cordons and all the phone lines were down.
Patients from the nearby Sydney Hospital patients are also being evacuated.
Courtesy of Daily Mail