New Age Islam
Fri Oct 30 2020, 06:32 PM

Current Affairs ( 14 Dec 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Hostages Held In Sydney Cafe, Forced To Hold Islamic Flag in Window

 

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Sydney Siege: Dramatic Photos and Video Show Hostages' Escape and Gunman at Martin Place Lindt Cafe

Sydney Siege: UK Prime Minister David Cameron 'Deeply Concerned' Over Hostage Stand-Off

Sydney Siege: Hostage-Taker Calling Himself 'The Brother' Claims Four Bombs in Lindt Cafe and City's Banking District

Sydney Siege: Gunman 'Forces' Hostages to Show Jihadist Banner

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By Matt Siegel and Jane Wardell

Dec 14, 2014

 

 

 

 

A young female employee came running out of the Lindt cafe shortly before 5pm and was sheltered by waiting police

 

 

 

(Reuters) - An armed assailant was holding an unknown number of hostages inside a central Sydney cafe on Monday, police said, with local television showing some being forced to hold up a black flag with white Arabic writing in the window.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has warned of militant plans to strike Australian targets, said there were indications the hostage situation at the Lindt Cafe was politically motivated.

"This is a very disturbing incident. I can understand the concerns and anxieties of the Australian people," Abbott told reporters in Canberra, without providing any information on the unfolding siege.

Australia, a staunch ally of the United States and its escalating action against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, is on high alert for attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East.

olice had not had any direct contact with the hostage taker, said Andrew Scipione, police commissioner for the state of New South Wales.

We have moved to a footing that would be consistent with a terrorist event," Scipione told reporters in Sydney.

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, although he stressed to another news outlet that he was guessing.

The hostage drama forced the evacuation of nearby buildings in Sydney's central business district and sent shockwaves around a country where many people have started to turn their attention to the approaching Christmas festive season.

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.

EVACUATING BY LADDER

Dozens of heavily armed police surrounded the cafe in Martin Place around mid-morning. The area is home to the Reserve Bank of Australia, commercial banks and close to the New South Wales state parliament.

The cafe was directly opposite a commercial television studio and 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.

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

Several hours into the siege, police led about two dozen people out of a building opposite the cafe and through the cordon. Others were evacuated from the building above the cafe by ladder, television pictures showed.

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

The nearby U.S. consulate was also evacuated, according to an embassy spokeswoman, along with the Sydney Opera House. Tourists were being let back into the world-famous venue by early afternoon.

BANKS AND SHOPS CLOSE

Major banks closed their offices in the central business district and people were told to avoid the area. Shops in a four block radius were shut.

"If it was up to me, I would storm the building," said John, a lawyer in his 50s who was evacuated from the building where the cafe was located. "I just feel angry about it." He declined to give his full name.

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.

The prime minister of Canada, which suffered an attack on its parliament by a suspected jihadist sympathizer in October, offered his support.

"Canada's thoughts and prayers are with our Australian friends. #MartinPlace #SydneySiege" Stephen Harper said via social media.

Concerns about an attack in Australia by radical Islamists have been growing for more than a year, with the security agency raising its national terrorism public alert to "high" in September.

Security had recently been stepped up at the nation's parliament, airports and at large scale public events.

(Writing by Lincoln Feast; Additional reporting Swati Pandey, Colin Packham, Wayne Cole; Editing by Paul Tait and Dean Yates)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/15/us-australia-security-idUSKBN0JS0WX20141215

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Sydney Hostage Crisis: Gunman Demands Islamic State Flag, Say Reports

Cheat Sheet

December 15, 2014

SYDNEY:  The police in Sydney launched counter-terror protocol as an armed man held several people hostage inside a popular cafe on Monday morning and forced some of them to hold up a black flag with white Arabic writing against the window, sparking a security lock-down in the heart of Australia's commercial capital.

The gunman has allegedly warned that four bombs have been planted around the city.

Here are 10 developments in this big story:

The police said at least one armed offender is holding hostages at the Lindt Chocolate cafe in Martin Place, a major shopping and pedestrian thoroughfare in the central business district of the city.

An Infosys employee is said to be among some 30 people trapped in the cafe. The IT company said the employee's family had been informed and it was extending all support to them.

Terrified customers were seen in the morning pressed against a window, holding a flag with writing that appeared to be the shahada, or profession of faith in Islam, and said: "There is no god but Allah; Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah."

Police negotiators are in contact with the gunman described as a man in his late 40s to 50s, wearing a black and white bandanna. Reports suggest the armed offender has demanded to speak to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and an Islamic State flag.

Around six hours after the crisis erupted, five people, including two women, were seen running out of the building.

Major landmarks including the Sydney Opera House were evacuated as the crisis broke out. Banks have shut down their offices.

The US has evacuated its Sydney Consulate located near the cafe; and issued an emergency warning to its citizens. The Indian consulate, about 400 m from the cafe, has also closed down.

Australia, which is backing the US 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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "The incident in Sydney is disturbing. Such acts are inhuman & deeply unfortunate. I pray for everyone's safety."

The Indian government said queries about Indian nationals would be taken by Deputy Consul General Vinod Bahade at +61 481 453550.

http://www.ndtv.com/article/cheat-sheet/sydney-hostage-crisis-gunman-demands-islamic-state-flag-say-reports-634729

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Uber Hiked Fares Up To $100 Minimum to Leave Business District

By Ewan Palmer

December 15, 2014

Taxi app Uber is offering free rides to people wanting to travel out of Sydney's central business district after initially hiking up prices to a minimum of A$100 (£52, $82) to get a ride out of the area near the seige.

The taxi app was branded a "disgrace" for hiking up prices during the hostage crisis.

Sydney's central business district has been caught in the grip of a hostage situation, which has unfolded at the city's Lindt Cafe, involving one gunman and as many as 30 hostages.

As the ongoing siege was taking place, Uber implemented its 'surge pricing' policy, which is used to encourage more drivers to come online, to pick up passengers during busy periods.

Screenshots of the app, obtained by Mashable, showed Uber at times charging a minimum A$100 fare for its service, with one user forced to pay $145 for a ride out of the city centre.

Following the outcry, Uber has now said it will be offering free rides for those wishing to get out of Sydney's CBD and is offering a refund to anyone who was charged the amplified amount during the siege.

The company said in a statement: "We are all concerned with the events happening in Sydney.

"Uber Sydney will be providing free rides out of the CBD to help Sydneysiders get home safely.

"Our thoughts are with those affected and the NSW Police Force."

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/sydney-siege-uber-hiked-fares-100-minimum-leave-business-district-1479518

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Dramatic Photos and Video Show Hostages' Escape and Gunman at Martin Place Lindt Cafe

By Umberto Bacchi

December 15, 2014

The dramatic moment two women fled a cafe in central Sydney where a gunman took an unknown number of hostages has been captured on camera.

Two employees of the Lindt Chocolat Cafe are seen running out of the store in Martin Place and being brought to safety by police forces, in footage captured by media camped outside the building.

Earlier three other men had managed to escape from the premises via a fire exit.

One of the freed hostages has been taken to a local hospital, where he was described as being in a satisfactory condition, while the other four were reportedly not in need of medical attention.

"He's in a satisfactory condition, so he's sitting up and that's all we can give out. We can't talk about the reason for his presentation," St Vincent's hospital spokesman David Faktor said.

Police said they have no information suggesting that anybody else has been injured in the hostage crisis that has lasted for more than six hours.

"We do not have any information that suggests that anybody is harmed at this stage," New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said.

Hundreds of police forces have surrounded the cafe and streets in the area were closed and offices evacuated.

Authorities are negotiating with the man, who is reportedly referring to himself as "The Brother". He claims to have planted two bombs in the store and two in the Australian capital's central banking district.

Photos taken at the scene appear to show the alleged gunman as a bearded middle-aged man wearing a white shirt and a bandana.

Regarding the hostage-taker's demands, Australian police requested that they not be made public by the media in order not to jeopardise the negotiations.

The man apparently forced two hostages to hold up an Islamist flag similar to those used by jihadist groups, as police said they believe the attack might be an act of terrorism.

Photos from the scene showed two female hostages holding a black flag containing an Islamic declaration of faith up against a window of the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in central Sydney.

The banner is known as Shahada and contains the words: "There is no God but the God, Muhammad is the messenger of God", a common expression in the Muslim world that has however been seized by some extremist groups, including the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria.

"This is a very disturbing incident," Prime Minister Tony Abbott said. "It is profoundly shocking that innocent people should be held hostage by an armed person claiming political motivation."

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/sydney-siege-dramatic-photos-video-show-hostages-escape-gunman-martin-place-lindt-cafe-1479514

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UK Prime Minister David Cameron 'Deeply Concerned' Over Hostage Stand-Off

By Ian Silvera

December 15, 2014

The UK Prime Minister is "deeply concerned" over the unfolding hostage stand-off in Sydney while other world leaders called the situation "disturbing".

At least one armed gunman has taken up to 40 people against their will in a Lindt cafe in Martin Place – one of the city's main business areas.

A major police operation is underway and the area surrounding the café has been cordoned off.

"I was briefed overnight on the siege in Sydney. It's deeply concerning and my thoughts are with all those caught up in it," David Cameron said.

The Prime Minister of India also shared his worries over the situation.

"The incident in Sydney is disturbing. Such acts are inhuman and deeply unfortunate. I pray for everyone's safety," Narendra Modi said.

New South Wales police have confirmed that five hostages have been released from the café.

Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister of Australia, described the incident as "terrifying" and said he does not know if the attack is "politically motivated".

"We don't yet know the motivation of the perpetrator. We don't know whether this is politically motivated though obviously there are some indications that it could be," Abbott said.

"We have to appreciate that even in a society such as ours, there are people who would wish to do us harm, that's why we have police and security organisations of the utmost professionalism that are ready and able to respond to a whole range of situations and contingencies, including this situation that we are now seeing in Sydney."

Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burns said that New South Wales police have been in contact with the hostage taker throughout the day in "various forms".

"We have been in contact throughout the day in various forms and it's an important part of our negotiation that we do not talk about some of the tactics or information that is being passed but this is a very, very well-tested system of negotiation that we use, it is world class and it might take a little bit of time but safety of those people inside is what is paramount," Burns said.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/sydney-siege-uk-prime-minister-david-cameron-deeply-concerned-over-hostage-stand-off-1479520

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Hostage-Taker Calling Himself 'The Brother' Claims Four Bombs In Lindt Cafe And City's Banking District

By Jack Moore

December 15, 2014

A gunman holding staff and customers hostage at a Lindt cafe in Sydney is referring to himself as "The Brother" and is claiming to have planted two bombs in the store and two in the city's central banking district, according to local media reports.

Australian outlet Ten Eyewitness News spoke to two of the hostages in a dramatic phone call in which they detailed information about the hostage-taker.

Correspondent Hugh Riminton tweeted: "Gunman....claims 2 bombs in #lindtcafe" and "two bombs have been placed in the CBD (central banking district)."

He added that the two women in the call were "hysterical" and believed that their lives were in "immediate danger".

He then deleted the tweets as they included the demands of the hostage-taker and Australian police requested that they not be made public by the media in order not to jeopardise the negotiations.

In a press conference, Abbott said: "Australia is a peaceful, open and generous society - nothing should ever change that and that's why I would urge all Australians today to go about their business as usual."

Six hours after the hostage situation began, three people were seen running from the cafe and two more followed an hour later.

It remains unclear whether the hostages escaped of their own accord or were released by the hostage-taker. The number of hostages left in the cafe remains unconfirmed but local media reports suggest the number is approximately 15.

"We will work with these people to figure out more information. We do not have information to suggest that anyone is harmed at this stage," said New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/sydney-siege-hostage-taker-calling-himself-brother-claims-four-bombs-lindt-cafe-citys-1479506

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Gunman 'Forces' Hostages to Show Jihadist Banner

By Umberto Bacchi

December 15, 2014

A gunman who has taken an unknown number of hostages at a Sydney cafe apparently forced two of them to hold up an Islamist flag similar to those used by jihadist groups, as police said they believe the attack was an act of terrorism.

Photos from the scene showed two female hostages holding a black flag containing an Islamic declaration of faith, against a window of the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in central Sydney.

The banner is known as Shahada and contains the words: "There is no god but the God, Muhammad is the messenger of God", a common expression in the Muslim world that has however been seized upon by some extremist groups, including the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria.

It is different from the Isis flag.

Police said they were considering terrorism as a possible motive for the attack at the café.

"We have moved to a footing that would be consistent with a terrorist event," said Andrew Scipione, police commissioner for the state of New South Wales, Reuters reported.

Isis-related symbols are banned in Australia. Earlier this year, anti-terror officials carried out a number of raids in a crackdown on Isis sympathisers.

It was not clear how many people remained inside the cafe located at Martin Place, central Sydney. Three hostages have emerged.

"We do not have any information that suggests that anybody is harmed at this stage," New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/sydney-siege-gunman-demands-isis-flag-forces-hostages-show-jihadist-banner-1479505

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URL: http://newageislam.com/current-affairs/matt-siegel-and-jane-wardell/hostages-held-in-sydney-cafe,-forced-to-hold-islamic-flag-in-window/d/100489

 

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