A suspected Isis militant is, at the time of writing this report, holding people hostage in a cafe in Sydney, Australia and is said to be demanding an ISIS flag and a phone call with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
According to a CNN report, the reported demands emerged after five hostages managed to flee the building, leaving an unknown number of people still trapped inside.
The gunman’s requests were made through hostages who contacted several media organizations, CNN affiliate Sky News Australia reported.
Hundreds of police officers shut down a usually bustling area in Australia’s most populous city amid the crisis.
Chilling images from local media showed people, believed to be hostages, with their hands pressed against the glass of the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney’s central business district.
Footage showed them holding up a black flag with Arabic writing on it that reads: “There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God.” That flag was different from the flag used by the terrorist group ISIS.
Three people who were seen running out of the cafe “are now out of the building and they are now with police,” said New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn, declining to give details about whether they escaped or were let go.
Video from CNN affiliate Seven Network later showed two more people running out of the cafe.
Authorities said many of the details about the situation remained unclear, including the number of people inside the cafe and the motivations of the hostage taker.
More reports to follow…..