5 people escape from Sydney cafe in hostage crisis
Five people escaped from a Sydney cafÈ where a gunman took an unknown number of hostages during yesterday morning rush hour. Two people inside the cafÈ earlier held up a flag with an Islamic declaration of faith that has often been used by extremists, raising fears that a terrorist incident was playing out in the heart of Australia's biggest city.
The first three people ran out of the Lindt Chocolat CafÈ in downtown Sydney six hours into the hostage crisis, and two women sprinted from a fire exit into the arms of waiting police shortly afterward. Both women were wearing aprons with the Lindt chocolate logo, indicating they were cafÈ employees.
As the siege dragged into its 15th hour and second day, basic questions remained unanswered. Police refused to say how many hostages were inside the cafe, what they believed the gunman's motives might be, whether he had made any demands or whether the hostages who fled the cafe escaped or were released.
"I would like to give you as much as I can, but right now that is as much as I can," New South Wales state police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said. "First and foremost, we have to make sure we do nothing that could in any way jeopardise those still in the building."