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Devout Muslims have taken at least 13 people people hostage at a chocolate shop in the Australian city of Sydney.

Pictures on Australian television showed people with their hands up against a window forced to hold up the black flag of jihad (the flag of the Islamic State, al Qaeda — of jihad).

Armed police have cordoned off area around Martin Place in Sydney’s central business district.

UPDATE: My sources at SION Australia and Q tell me the Lindt  store refuses to be halal certified – it may be why the were targeted.

australia jihad

New South Wales police have asked people to avoid the area.

An Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporter said that heavily armoured police vehicles had now arrived at the scene.

What we know so far

Here are some links to some of our stories, with lots of detail about what’s happening in Sydney’s CBD
—-Hostages are being forced to hold an Islamic flag against the window of the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Martin Place after at least one gunman stormed the premises, reports Megan Levy.
—–The flag shown being held by hostages against the window of Lindt Chocolat Cafe is not an Islamic State flag, but is an Islamic flag that has been co-opted by jihadist groups, reports David Wroe.

Hostages used as human shield in Sydney CBD cafe

UPDATE: The Opera House, which is not far from the Lindt Chocolate shop,  has just been evacuated. Suspicious package found.

Hostages forced to hold up a black and white flag bearing what appears to be the Islamic creed at windows of cafe, as heavily armed New South Wales police take up position in the centre of Sydney’s CBD

UPDATE: Jihadists weating backpack and “vests” – bombs?

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 6.50.50 PM

Thanks to Armaros

Before the flag was placed in the window two hostages were seen in the cafe pressed against the window with their hands up. One of them was wearing the uniform of the cafe. It is believed there are at least two men in the cafe who have taken others hostage.

Uber left Guardian already scrubbing and providing cover for the savages:

Back to the flag in the window. My colleague Michael Safi, who reports on Islamic affairs, says it’s hard to know for sure about the flag because it’s cut off in the middle. He says it looks to him like the shahada which is the Islamic creed. It certainly looks at first glance like it could be associated with Islamic State.

hostages in sydney

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 6.50.04 PMUPDATE Channel 7 reporting: Armed security forces are now showing up in Martin Place.

security australiasydney-standoff

Australia Prime Minister PM Tony Abbott on Sydney Martin Place hostage situation: “The National Security Committee of Cabinet has also convened”


statement abbott


From the Herald’s court reporter, Paul Bibby: The NSW Supreme Court’s criminal courts on King Street in the CBD have been evacuated, as has have scores of staff from the NSW Crown Solicitor’s office.

A number of prominent barristers chambers have also been evacuated, including the Seventh Floor Garfield Barwick Chambers in Martin Place and the Wentworth Chambers.

Other legal chambers such as Sir Owen Dixon have been locked down, along with dozens of government and commercial buildings in the blocks surrounding the siege, including the Reserve Bank and the NSW Department of Transport.

Some staff say they have been moved out of their offices to the “safe” side of their buildings away from the café.
Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 7.55.05 PM

UPDATE: The following sites are among those which have been evacuated:

  • The Channel Seven building at Martin Place
  • The Opera House
  • NSW parliamentary executive offices
  • The State Library
  • The NSW Supreme Court’s criminal courts, and several city legal chambers.

Chifley Square is also reportedly in lock down. Workers in the MLC building offices are unable to leave.

One of the jihadists:

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 8.04.02 PMUPDATE: Manager of Lindt cafe says there are 50 hostages, including staff. This is a big jump from the reported 13. Via 7 news

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 8.52.56 PMUPDATE: Reports at least 10 staff and as many as 30 customers are currently inside. #sydneysiege #Sydney

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 9.33.13 PMReports at least 10 staff and as many as 30 customers are currently inside. #sydneysiege #Sydney

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