2 dead, 3 injured as Sydney cafe siege ends

A hostage crisis has ended at a café in Sydney, Australia, with two people killed and three others injured, authorities said.

The hostage taker is believed to be among the dead.

The Iranian-born Man Haron Monis had held 30 people hostage at the Lindt chocolate café in Sydney, Australia, in the early hours of Monday.

Early in the siege, hostages were forced to hold up a black Islamic banner at the window.

About 16 hours after the abduction, some hostages were able to escape.

Australian commandos later stormed the building, detonating stun grenade before managing to release the hostages.
Mr. Monis is said to have had a criminal past well known to Australian police.

The 49-year-old received political asylum in Australia in 1996 and was on bail facing a number of charges.

In August 2013, Mr. Monis pleaded guilty to sending offensive letters to families of British soldiers who fought in Afghanistan at the Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court.

In 2013, he was also arrested for aiding and abetting the murder of his ex-wife but was later released on bail.
Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, expressed “profound shock” that people were being “held hostage by an armed person claiming political motivation”.

New South Wales police later tweeted that the siege had ended at 02:44 local time (15:44 GMT).

The commandos who stormed the building were from the Royal Australian Regiment, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said.

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