International

Sydney siege: Infosys employee safe

Policemen take positions at Martin Place near Lindt cafe, where hostages are being held, in central Sydney on Monday, December 15, 2014.

Policemen take positions at Martin Place near Lindt cafe, where hostages are being held, in central Sydney on Monday, December 15, 2014.   | Photo Credit: DAVID GRAY

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Heavily armed police storm Sydney cafe where gunman has been holding hostages.

9.45 p.m.: Number of injuries still unclear -- AP

9:22 p.m.: Police say Sydney cafe hostage situation is over after more than 16 hours.





9.20 p.m: Bomb disposal robot employed at Sydney cafe where hostages held.

9.05 p.m: c

3: 10 pm: Infosys says one of its employees is among the hostages at Sydney cafe. >Read more

2:26 pm: An Indian origin IT professional may be among the hostages held by a gunman in a cafe in Australia, according to Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu who later said the reports were unconfirmed. >Read More

“We don’t want to discuss it because there is some information that one of our IT persons is also there. So the External Affairs Ministry is keeping in touch with concerned people there — both our embassy as well as our counterpart also,” Mr. Naidu told reporters outside Parliament House.

1: 45 pm: India working to ensure safety of Indian nationals in wake of Sydney cafe hostage: MEA

Watch video:



1: 30 pm: Some information that an Indian IT professional is among the hostages in Sydney cafe: Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu.

India's Arun Jaitley has called for peace and safe return of hostages.





11:50 am: Police still maintain they do not have precise figures on how many hostages remain in the building but Deputy Commissioner Burn says "it is not as high as 30" as some reports had suggested.

11:40 am: 2 more people seen fleeing Sydney building, bringing total of those who escaped to 5.

The two women were both wearing aprons indicating they were staff at the Lindt cafe.

NSW police have released a statement about the situation





What we know so far about the Sydney hostage situation

- Five hostages have escaped from the cafe

- Police are in contact with the gunman

- No news of anyone harmed, police say.

11:30 am:





10: 45 am: Contact made with gunman, says police. Australian police said negotiators have been in contact with the gunman holding hostages but refused to speculate on his possible motivation. >Read

10:30 am: Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn confirms that "three people have emerged from the location at Martin Place."

"We don't believe anyone else in the cafe has been injured.", NSW police has tweeted.





10.20 am: TV images show at least three people running out of the cafe.

The hostages appeared to come out of a side door which was being watched by heavily armed police, almost six hours after the standoff began. It is not clear how many people remain inside.

10: 14 am: Indian Consulate in Australia closed: TV reports





10:10 am: Number of hostages still unknown.

About Martin Place: The cafe is located in Martin Place, a plaza in the heart of the Sydney's financial and shopping district that is packed with holiday shoppers this time of year. It is home to the state premier’s office, the Reserve Bank of Australia, and the headquarters of two of the nation’s largest banks. The state parliament house is a few blocks away.

10: 00 am: The Grand Mufti of Australia released a statement condemning the siege.





9:40 am: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key tweeted saying "my thoughts are with the people of Australia today"





9:20 am: Lindt Chocolate Cafe Australia issued a statement on their Facebook page.





9: 07 am: Australian PM Tony Abbott tweeted saying "our law enforcement and security agencies are responding in a thorough & professional manner"





8:50 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted saying "the incident in Sydney is disturbing."





8:45 am: "Whatever the test, we will face it head on and we will remain a strong, democratic, civil society," NSW Premier Mike Baird said

8:40am: The siege involves one armed man, undisclosed number of hostages: police

8:30 am: MSW police briefing about the situation.

8: 15am: A woman is assisted as a group of people are evacuated by police from a building next to Lindt cafe in Martin Place, where hostages are being held, in central Sydney. Photo: Reuters



Key Points
 

At least one gunman has taken several people hostage at a cafe in the Australian city of Sydney



People holding up what appeared to be a black flag with white Arabic writing on it



Police have cordoned off a large area of Sydney's central business district



Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott describes the hostage incident as "deeply concerning"



Police are telling the public to avoid the area

Martin Place
 

Home to the state premier’s office, the Reserve Bank of Australia. State parliament house is a few blocks away.



Dozens of hostages were trapped inside a central Sydney cafe on Monday, with local television showing some being forced to hold up a black flag with white Arabic writing in the window, raising fears of an attack linked to Islamic militants.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has warned of militant plans to attack Australian targets, said he was convening a meeting of the cabinet's national security committee for a briefing on the hostage situation at the Lindt Cafe in the country's commercial capital.

"Police are dealing with an armed incident and specialist officers are attempting to make contact (with) those inside a cafe," New South Wales Police said in a statement.

Australia, which is backing the United States and its escalating action against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, is on high alert for attacks by radicalised Muslims or by home-grown fighters returning from the conflict in the Middle East.

A Lindt Australia executive said there were about 10 staff working at the cafe, Sky Business television reported. Chief Executive Steve Loane also said there were "probably 30 customers" in the cafe, according to Sky Business.

Dozens of heavily armed police surrounded the cafe in Martin Place, home to the Reserve Bank of Australia, commercial banks and close to the New South Wales state parliament.

Television footage showed several people inside the cafe standing with their hands pressed against the windows.

Pictures showed a black and white flag similar to those used by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria being held up by what appeared to be a staff member and another woman. It was unclear how many assailants were involved.

A couple of hundred people were being held back by cordons and the fire brigade's hazardous unit was on the scene, a Reuters witness said.



The above image taken from video shows people holding up what appeared to be a black flag with white Arabic writing on it, inside a cafe in Sydney. Photo: Channel 7/AP



People standing behind a police cordon look towards Lindt cafe in Martin Place, where hostages are being held, in central Sydney. Photo: Reuters

The Reserve Bank of Australia, near the cafe, said staff had been locked down inside the building, and were all safe and accounted for.

The nearby Sydney Opera House was temporarily evacuated after a suspicious package had been found, a staff member told Reuters. Tourists were being let back into the world-famous venue by early afternoon.

Trains and buses were stopped and roads were blocked in the area, with train operators saying there had been a bomb threat at Martin Place.

Qantas Airways Ltd said planes were avoiding flying over the central business district but were landing as normal.

Traders in currency markets said the hostage news may have contributed to a dip in the Australian dollar, which was already under pressure from global risk aversion as oil prices fell anew. The local currency was pinned at $0.8227, having hit its lowest since mid-2010 last week.

In September, Australian anti-terrorism police said they had thwarted an imminent threat to behead a random member of the public and days later, a teenager in Melbourne was shot dead after attacking two anti-terrorism officers with a knife.

Normalcy at Sydney airport

Authorities said on Monday that flights are landing and taking off normally at Sydney Airport, but a diversion is in place around the city's central business district after reports that a gunman had taken hostages in a cafe in the centre of the city.

The government-owned regulator, Airservices Australia, confirmed normal operations at both the domestic and international airports south of the city.

> Read: Abott convenes emergency meet, says motive unclear (7:50 am)



 

>Australian police say contact made with Sydney siege gunman

Australian police said on Monday that negotiators have been in contact with the gunman holding hostages in a Sydney cafe siege but refused to speculate on his possible motivation.

>Read More...

>#illridewithyou goes viral on Twitter after Martin Place siege

At the time of terror, Australians have come together on Twitter to show their support for the Muslim population in the country.

>Read More...
 
 

>Abbott convenes National Security Committee after hostage crisis

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he has convened the National Security Committee for emergency briefings after hostages were reportedly taken in a Sydney cafe earlier on Monday.

>Read More...

>Sydney siege - in pictures

People have been taken hostage by at least one gunman at a Lindt cafe in the Australian city of Sydney.

>Slideshow...
 
 

>Modi condemns hostage crisis in Australia

“The incident in Sydney is disturbing. Such acts are inhuman & deeply unfortunate. I pray for everyone’s safety,” Mr. Modi tweeted.

>Read More...

>Sydney hostage crisis: Sushma seeks details

According to sources, the External Affairs Minister spoke to Indian High Commissioner Biren Nanda about the unfolding drama in a Sydney cafe

>Read More...
 


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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 11:46:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/hostages-held-in-sydney-cafe-forced-to-hold-islamic-flag-in-window/article6692675.ece

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