As a result, the siege at the Lindt cafe in the centre of Sydney’s CBD is over.
A man was seen running with his hands up before as many as 15 hostages followed running from the cafe just after 2am. A short burst of gunfire and flash grenades were heard as police stormed the building before police declared the siege over at around 2.45am.
At least four hostages are believed to have been injured, perhaps three critically, as hostages fled the cafe and police stormed the building just after 2am.
One of the dead hostages was identified as Katrina Dawson, a lawyer and mother of three. The identity of the second hostage who was killed wasn’t immediately made public. It is not clear whether the two hostages were killed by Monis or the storm-troopers.
|Australian paramedics treat an injured hostage |
as other hostages are carried out of a cafe
One of those injured is believed to be a place officer who was seen with an amount of blood streaming from his head, Sky News reports.
Authorities are currently attempting to assess the damage and arrange urgent medical attention for the hostages and police.
It is believed the area has now been cleared for risk of explosives.
Shortly before 2.45am (AEDT), police confirmed the siege was over.
|Hostages run for their lives|
Television footage initially showed a man running from the eatery with his arms raised, shortly after 2am (AEDT), before being patted down by police and escorted to safety.
Minutes later, two more men and two women raced outside and were directed away by police.
Their escape was followed by 10 seconds of rapid gunfire as heavily-armed police stormed the cafe in numbers, managing to release others.
A woman, apparently middle-aged, was carried from the scene injured.
|A hostage is carried by police rescue.|
A number of stretchers were wheeled into the building, however, it was unclear how many people may have been injured.
According to unconfirmed reports aired by Sky News, at least four people were injured.
50-year-old self-styled sheik Man Haron Monis was pronounced dead at the hospital. People who knew Mr. Haron described him as an outcast in Sydney’s Shiite community. His ideology appeared to be conflicted, as he identified himself as a Shiite but espoused the goals of the radical Sunni group Islamic State.
Meanwhile, a bomb disposal robot was sent into the cafe by police.
|Heavily armed police enter Lindt cafe|
Haron was also charged this year with indecent and sexual assault of women in 2002. Monis was hit with an additional 40 charges in October.
The 49-year-old, originally from Iran who lived in southwest Sydney, had previously sent offensive letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers, calling them ‘murderers’, The Daily Telegraph says.
He had a sawn-off shotgun and was a fringe Islamist, The Australian and Sky News reports.
|‘Sheik’ Man Haron Monis Source: News Corp Australia|
As the siege exploded in Sydney’s Lindt Cafe, the world watched.
In the United States, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC and other 24-hour news channels had already dedicated most of their Monday morning programming to coverage of the emergency.
When the situation climaxed with hostages fleeing and heavily armed authorities storming the cafe in Sydney’s central business district, people around the world watched live.
CNN switched programming to the Seven Network’s coverage, while FOX News switched to Australia’s Sky News.
The New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the UK’s Independent and Times, France’s Le Monde and other news websites also were dominated by the harrowing photos of hostages running for their lives.