5 Escape From Sydney Cafe After Being Held Hostage

Five hostages escaped from a Sydney cafe, where they were being held hostage by a gunman on Monday.The situation began unfolding shortly before 10 a.m. Monday, Australia time, and more than 12 hours later, an unknown number of hostages remained inside the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in downtown Sydney.

A hostage runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, on Monday.
A hostage runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, on Monday.

A large portion of Australia’s largest city is under lockdown and police in tactical gear have surrounded the cafe.

The Sydney Morning Herald quotes New South Wales Deputy Police Commissioner Cath Burn as saying that fewer than 30 hostages are still in the building.

The motive is still unknown, but shortly after the gunman entered the building, hostages were seen at the window of the chocolate store holding up a black flag with the shahada, an Islamic creed declaring Allah as the true God.

ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corp.) is streaming its coverage live here. We’ll be following this story as it unfolds on this post, so hit refresh to see the latest.