Please Note, this written feed is being updated in real time using multiple resources. This is a rapidly changing situation and information may change with it. Information in old updates may have changed and/or no longer be relevant.
UPDATE 11:20AM ET: Reports indicate the suspect is one of the two people who are deceased according to some reports.
UPDATE 11:17AM ET: The hostage taker is identified as a well known radical Islamic cleric, Sheikh Man Haron Monis, who is suspected in several other violent crimes.
UPDATE 11:16AM ET: Hostage taker, an Islamic terrorist, is dead.
UPDATE 10:58AM ET: Bomb squads are working in and around the cafe.
UPDATE 10:49AM ET: Initial reports – 2 dead, 3 in serious condition after police raid cafe. No word on if the suspect is included in the dead.
UPDATE 10:42AM ET: Emergency medical personnel performed CPR on at least 2 people immediately following the gun battle.
UPDATE 10:40ET: Ambulances are arriving at Sydney area hospitals with people wounded from the Martin Place cafe
UPDATE 10:39AM ET: Police have confirmed the siege is over. There are no additional details.
UPDATE 10:34AM ET: A bomb disposal robot has been seen entering the cafe.
UPDATE 10:31AM ET: A gun battle has erupted between a Sydney tactical team and the hostage taker. Initial reports are that four people have been wounded in the exchange.
UPDATE 4:28AM ET: New South Wales Premier praises response by law enforcement and the city and nation overall. He and police commissioner had conference call with Australia Islamic leaders who support police actions. Martin Place exclusion zone will continue to be off limits through at least tomorrow. Commissioner says number 1 priority is to get everyone inside the cafe out safely. Police refuse to confirm the number of people in the building.
UPDATE 4:02AM ET: The lights in the cafe have just gone out per Chris Reason.
UPDATE 3:46AM ET: Per Chris Reason at News7 the remaining hostages are all huddled in one area in the cafe. They are being allowed to eat.
UPDATE 3:26AM ET: Australian PM, paraphrased – This is extremely shocking. Police have responded with great professionalism. Communication between government agencies and law enforcement has been very good. Commends the people of Sydney for “responding in character”. I’ve received messages of support from international leaders. This is a day that has tested us. We have risen to the challenge.
UPDATE 3:16AM ET: Sky News confirms that the hostages that have emerged, escaped and were not released.
UPDATE 2:45AM ET: UPDATE: Only 5 hostages have escaped as of right now.
UPDATE 2:43AM ET: Police are aware that demands are being posted on social media by hostages inside the cafe.
UPDATE 2:36AM ET: Police – Multiple hospitals are putting together contingency plans in case the situation deteriorates.
UPDATE 2:31AM ET: A News7 reporter has returned to the News7 offices directly across from the cafe. He says he can see directly into the cafe and says 15 hostages remain. He says the gunman is still forcing hostages to stand in front of windows.
UPDATE 2:18AM ET: A sixth hostage has escaped from the cafe.
UPDATE 1:52AM ET: The gunman is now reportedly demanding an ISIS flag and to speak to the Australian Prime Minister.
UPDATE 1:28AM ET: One of the escaped hostages has been transported to an area hospital with an unspecified condition.
UPDATE 1:01AM ET: Two more female hostages seem to have escaped from the cafe.
UPDATE 12:37AM ET: The hostages that escaped or were released are confirmed to be one Lindt employee and two customers.
UPDATE 12:07AM ET: Police say they cannot confirm the number of hostage takers.
UPDATE 12:05AM ET: Police say the motives of the hostage taker are currently unknown.
UPDATE 12:03AM ET: Police say there are likely “fewer than 30” hostages in the building. Some estimates put the number as high as 50 and as low as 12.
UPDATE 12:01AM ET: Police are confirming they are in negotiations with the hostage taker. Hostages who emerged may have been “good faith” releases.
UPDATE 11:58PM ET: Police say they will use information obtained from the three hostages who escaped the cafe. As of right now police do not believe anyone has been harmed.
UPDATE 11:48PM ET: Three people have ran out of the cafe. More people may be about to flee as well. The fate of the hostage taker is unknown.
UPDATE 11:21PM ET: Police are confirming that the hostage taker has an improvised explosive device. Hostage count is currently estimated at “up to 50” people being held.
UPDATE 10:54PM ET: Statement from Lindt Chocolates, via Facebook: “We would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and kind support over the current situation at the Lindt Chocolate Café at Martin Place. We are deeply concerned over this serious incident and our thoughts and prayers are with the staff and customers involved and all their friends and families. The matter is being dealt with by the authorities and we are waiting for any updates from them.”
UPDATE 10:02PM ET: Police say they are responding as if event is terror related, but have not designated the event as an act of terrorism yet. Police are not currently speaking to the hostage taker.
UPDATE 9:44PM ET: Sky News reporting that the hostage taker wants to address the media live.
UPDATE 9:11PM ET: Lindt, the company that owns the shop in question, says up to 10 employees and 30 customers could be held in shop by the hostage taker.
UPDATE 9:09PM ET: All courts in Sydney have been closed for the day.
UPDATE 9:03PM ET: President Obama has been briefed on the situation in Sydney per White House reporters.
UPDATE 8:53PM ET: PM, paraphrased – We don’t know the motivation of the suspect, but there are indications of what those could be. The point of terrorism to stop people form being themselves. Urges Australians to go about their business as usual. Urges citizens to call national hotline to report suspicious activity.
UPDATE 8:42PM ET: US Consulate in Sydney has been evacuated and US citizens in Australia are being urged to be cautious.
UPDATE 8:38PM ET: Television station reporting that someone inside the building called them and requested that the police be moved back away from the building.
UPDATE 8:36PM ET: More buildings in the area are being evacuated, but police aren’t saying why or exactly which buildings.
UPDATE 8:34PM ET: The previously mentioned arrest is not related to the hostage situation per the police.
UPDATE 8:31PM ET: Police just arrested a man armed with a handgun just 200 meters away from the hostage scene.
UPDATE 8:14PM ET: According to 9News the gunman says there are four devices hidden throughout Sydney. Security forces are responding to the threat.
UPDATE 8:14PM ET: Australian PM will address the nation shortly.
UPDATE 8:02PM ET: The gunman is using a young woman as a human shield.
UPDATE 8:02PM ET: Statement from Police: Police ordering those in streets near Martin Place to remain indoors and away from open windows
UPDATE 7:59PM ET: According to 7News, raids have been carried out in other parts of Australia this morning in which suspected terror suspects were arrested.
UPDATE 7:54PM ET: According to a 7News reporter, a government employee was told there are two gunmen, but he has only seen one himself. One of the gunmen has reportedly asked to speak to the Prime Minister over the radio.
UPDATE 7:51PM ET: One of the gunman (there may or may not be two gunmen), is wearing a white shirt, jacket, a black headband with Arabic writing and appears to be middle aged. He has a beard.
UPDATE 7:34PM ET: Prime Minister issued statement that the government is convening and aware of the situation. He says “This is obviously a deeply concerning incident”. No new information.
UPDATE 7:31PM ET: 7News is purposefully not broadcasting their live feed of the hostages for “prudence”.
UPDATE 7:27PM ET: Correction: Sydney airspace has not been shut down, although some flights are being diverted.
UPDATE 7:21PM ET: UNCONFIRMED REPORT: One of the gunman is wearing a backpack and a vest. This report is unconfirmed and the content of the backpack and the type of vest is currently unknown. SAS and the TAG are both on scene, both are highly trained tactical units.
UPDATE 7:12PM ET: Sydney Opera House has been evacuated and closed down.
UPDATE 7:09PM ET: The gunman have hostages standing in front of every window in the cafe with their hands up.
UPDATE 7:01PM ET: According to a professor on Australian TV the flag being displayed is not an Islamic State flag, but is an Islamic flag. He says “our worst fears are being realized.”
UPDATE 6:49PM ET: Airspace over Sydney has been partially closed.
UPDATE 6:41PM ET: Reports indicate around 12 hostages and 2 possible gunman. One may be armed with a long gun.
ORIGINAL POST: A gunman has taken several hostages at a cafe in Sydney, Australia.
The gunman forced to hostages to display what appears to be an ISIS flag at the front of the cafe.
Australia has had several terror threats in recent weeks. Earlier this year numerous suspected Muslim terrorists were arrested and charged with plotting to behead Australian citizens in public.