Sydney Siege Ends In Tragedy (+ VIDEO)

Publish Date
Tuesday, 16 December 2014, 8:47AM
Source - Getty Images

Source - Getty Images

Three are dead and four seriously injured after the Sydney siege came to a violent end.

Heavily armed police stormed the Lindt cafe in the early hours of this morning, with the gunman dying in the exchange

The two hostages who died were a 34-year-old man and 38-year-old woman.

A police officer is among those being treated in hospital, for injuries from gunshot pellets.

VIDEO: Police storm Lindt Chocolate Cafe

It's believed the gunman killed one hostage, triggering the police offensive, where the hostage-taker was then also killed.

"A sustained burst of automatic gunfire intermingled with more flash grenades, more gunfire and the screams of the hostages as they ran to safety.

"As the situation stabilised ambulance paramedics rushed into the scene with gurneys, ready to deal with the casualties.

"They emerged also, some obviously seriously injured, paramedics giving first aid as they pushed the gurneys to waiting ambulances to hospital.

"There emergency teams had also been on stand-by."

2UE'S Leonie Ryan saw the siege unfold, and told Rachel Smalley it never seemed to end.

"We basically were just looking at each other just saying 'when is this gunfire going to end?'

"It felt like it was going on forever."

A man inside the cafe had claimed he had at least four bombs, and a bomb disposal robot was seen entering the cafe immediately after the area was secured.

Ambulances surround the scene and paramedics have been seen giving CPR to at least two people.

Self-styled sheikh was on bailĀ 

The man at the centre is 50-year-old self-styled sheikh Man Haron Monis.

He's on bail, accused of helping kill his ex-wife.

Monis is also facing a raft of charges relating to his time working as a so-called spiritual healer, including 22 counts of aggravated sexual assault and 14 counts of aggravated indecent assault.

Correspondent Tom Andronas says Police believe the hostage taker is someone they've known for several years.

"He first came to the attention of police when he penned some letters to the family of dead Australian soldiers seven years ago."

As a result, he was convicted of 12 counts of using a postal service to cause offence, ordered to perform 300 hours of community service and placed on a two-year good behaviour bond.

Abbott: 'We have risen to to the challenge'

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott says the country has been truly tested.

"Like Australians in all sorts of situations, we have risen to the challenge."

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird says people must be strong and go about their normal business.

He's paying tribute to the police who he says saved many, many lives over the past 24 hours.

And Mike Baird says his thoughts are with the hostages and their families who will be provided with every support they need in the coming days, weeks and months.

"Today we must come together like never before.

"We are stronger together, we will get through this.

"We will get through this."

Siege 'a standalone attack', security expert

Security expert Paul Buchanan says the siege appears to have been a stand-alone attack.

"This has nothing to do with terrorism.

"This has all to do with one man's very fragile mental state and his grievances against a multitude of others."

He says anti-terror legislation may have done little to prevent the siege from happening.

"Oftentimes criminals and people who are mentally unstable will cloak themselves in the appearance of adherence to extremism when in fact it's nothing of the sort."

Australia's Muslim community fears reprisals

Australia's Muslim community is horrified by the attack, and fears reprisals.

One leader Dr Jamal Rifi says the gunman's violence is a disgrace to Islam, and has nothing to do with religious teachings.

"If he is a publicity seeker, he wanted people to know about it and to know who he is.

"We don't know, we don't know what's his motive but it's definitely personal, it's definitely criminal."

"It has nothing to do with any one else in this community or societies at large."

Correspondent Tom Andronas told Rachel Smalley some Australians have turned to social media to counter anti-Muslim sentiments, with the hashtag "I Stand With You".

"A way of saying life goes on and we're not holding you responsible for the actions of this madman."

'I'll ride with you' goes viral

The "I'll ride with you" hashtag sparked by the Sydney siege has gone viral.

It began when young Sydney woman, Rachael Jacobs, say a Muslim woman sitting next to her on a train silently remove her hijab in the wake of news of the siege.

Ms Jacobs ran after her, told her to put it back on - and she'd walk with her.

News of the event on social media's sparked the I'll ride with you campaign. .

Hostage taker described as 'coward'

The New Zealand Muslim Federation is describing the Sydney hostage taker as a coward.

President Anwar Ghani doubts a repeat of the incident will happen here.

But he says the hostage drama is making life very difficult for the Muslim community.

Dr Ghani says they'll have to keep a close eye, not only on their own members, but those who are outside of their community to make sure there is no copy cat incident here.

Newstalk ZB

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