Australia Hostage-Taking Comes to Dramatic End
The hostage situation in Australia is over, according to officials, ending with a series of explosions and victims running for their lives. Reports also indicate that some of those held died in the raid.
Foxnews.com is reporting two people may have been killed and at least 5 others critically wounded. The news source is also indicating that the suspect has been identified as an Iranian jihadist who has a history of violence.
An estimated 15 hostages were taken at a chocolate shop in Sydney. Reports indicate they were forced to hold up a sign in the window that showed support for the Islamic faith. The suspect was also demanding a flag from the terror group ISIS along with a meeting with Australia's Prime Minister. Neither demand was granted.
The standoff came to a head this morning 16 hours after it began when emergency personnel there forced their way inside the building.
"Police and paramedics have stormed the building," the Sydney Morning Herald reported. "Dozens of continuous bangs and possibly gun shots have lit up the sky."
The article indicates that several people were taken away on stretchers as police in riot gear moved in for final resolution to the incident.
A bomb disposal robot was also seen in the shop shortly after the standoff concluded.
The raid came, according to sources, after those who were able to escape, told authorities the alleged hostage-taker indicated he was preparing to harm those left behind.
The article also quotes a journalist as saying the suspect seemed to fly into a rage after some of the hostages were able to escape.
Police had said throughout the ordeal that they were hoping to be able to talk the suspect out, but those plans changed quickly as the morning wore on.
A preliminary report has identified the suspect as Man Haron Monis. In addition to having an alleged connection to the death of his wife, he is believed to be the one who sent hate-mail to the families of fallen soldiers who died in Afghanistan.
Officials will say only at this time that they have found no indications that incident was part of a bigger terror threat, but are searching for connections to organizations like ISIS.
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