- 18m agoSiege enters ninth hour – what we know so far
- 1h agoPolice operating on Counter Terrorism protocols
- 1h agoTwo women out of the Lindt cafe
- 3h agoPeople seen running out of Lindt cafe
- 4h agoThe NSW police commissioner, Andrew Scipione, and the premier, Mike Baird, speak
- 5h agoTony Abbott: ‘We don’t know the motivation’
- 6h agoOpposition leader, Bill Shorten, releases statement
More international leaders have shown support for Australia after the Canadian and New Zealand prime ministers sent messages. The Indian and English prime ministers, have tweeted about the siege.
Prime minister Tony Abbott says the hostage taker is “claiming political motivation”.
has released a statement after chairing a meeting of the National Security Committee of the Cabinet which was briefed by the NSW Premier, Mike Baird, and the NSW police commissioner, Andrew Scipione.
This is a very disturbing incident. It is profoundly shocking that innocent people should be held hostage by an armed person claiming political motivation.
Abbott says different governments, agencies and police have been working together all day and he commends the people of Sydney on their calmness.
Obviously, images have been beamed around our country and around the world. I’ve received messages of support from a number of international leaders and I thank them for their encouragement on this difficult day. Yes, it has been a difficult day. Yes, it is a day which has tested us, but so far, like Australians in all sorts of situations, we have risen to the challenge.
Siege enters ninth hour – what we know so far
Customers and staff of Lindt Cafe in Martin Place were taken hostage by at least one armed gunman in Sydney this morning at 9.45am AEDT.
- Five people, three men and two women, have fled the cafe. It is not known how many hostages there are but NSW deputy policy commissioner, Catherine Burn, said it is not more than 30. One of the hostages is in hospital in a “satisfactory condition”.
- There is at least one offender.
- The hostages were forced to raise a black flag with white writing. It has been wrongly reported as a flag of Islamic State. The flag appears to bear the Shahada, an Islamic creed which reads: “There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.” It can be a benign symbol and appears across the Islamic world, including on the Saudi Arabian flag. But it has also been embraced by jihadi groups such as Jabhat Al-Nusra, an al-Qaida affiliate currently fighting in Syria.
- NSW Police have confirmed they are operating on counter terror protocols.
- Hostages have contacted at least three separate media outlets. Police have asked media outlets not to reveal the content of the conversations.
Channel 10 is the third media outlet saying they have been contacted by hostages in the Lindt cafe. Police have specifically requested media outlets not reveal the content of the conversations. The other two outlets are 2GB radio and News Corp Australia.
Updated at 6.15pm AEST
A spokesman for St Vincent’s Hospital has confirmed that one male hostage is currently in emergency at the hospital in Darlinghurst, and is sitting up in bed in a “satisfactory” condition, Michael Safireports.
Among the hundreds of people who are gathering in Martin Place to watch the siege are people taking selfies and people drinking, according to tweets from Buzzfeed Oz reporter Mark Di Stefano.
As the end of the work day loom the crowds are swelling in Martin Place where the siege is taking place. There are hundreds of people now trying to catch a glimpse of the siege, which is likely making the police operation more difficult.
Police operating on Counter Terrorism protocols
NSW police have confirmed they are operating according to counter terrorism protocols, with the counter terrorism and security command in charge of this operation.
NSW police released a statement saying they are continuing to work towards a “peaceful resolution”.
Due to operational reasons, we can’t go into exact details at present, but no one has been injured as far as we know.
We are operating according to our counter terrorism protocols, with our counter terrorism and security command in charge of this operation.
Police have established a perimeter encompassing Hunter, Pitt, King and Phillip streets. People have been asked to stay away from the Sydney CBD, particularly Martin Place.
People who have finished work are being told to proceed home as normal.
Updated at 5.59pm AEST
This is extraordinary footage of one of the terrified women fleeing the Lindt cafe. Five hostages so far have fled.