Up To 40 Hostages In Sydney Financial District Coffee Shop, Jihadists Suspected; US Consulate Evacuated - Live Feed

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Only weeks after Australia broke up a plan by ISIS to publicly behead a member of public, reports suggest 2 gunmen are holding 13 hostages at a Lindt coffee-shop in Sydney, Australia. The terrorists have shown a black jihadist flag - which is not an IS flag - and has paraded the hostages at the windows. The coffee shop is directly across the street from the Reserve Bank of Australia.

  • *LINDT AUSTRALIA CEO STEVE LOANE SPOKE BY PHONE
  • *LINDT AUSTRALIA: PROBABLY ABOUT 30 CUSTOMERS IN SYDNEY CAFE
  • *LINDT AUSTRALIA: ABOUT 10 STAFF WORKING IN SYDNEY CAFE TODAY

*ABBOTT SAYS INCIDENT IS `VERY DISTURBING'

*ABBOTT: URGES AUSTRALIANS TO GO ABOUT BUSINESS AS USUAL

 

 

  • *RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA STAFF LOCKED DOWN IN SYDNEY HQ: CNBC

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  • 943 am local, woman spots a man with a blue bag carrying a gun going into the Lindt coffee shop in Syndey.
  • 13 hostages held
  • Sydney Airspace NOT closed - flightsdiverted
  • *SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE EVACUATED: BBC

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As Reuters reports,

Hostages were being held inside a central Sydney cafe where a black flag with white Arabic writing could be seen in the window, local television showed on Monday, raising fears of an attack linked to Islamic militants.

 

Australia, which is backing the United States and its escalating action against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, is on high alert for attacks by radicalized Muslims or by home-grown fighters returning from fighting in the Middle East.

 

Part of Martin Place, home to the Reserve Bank of Australia, commercial banks and close to the New South Wales (NSW) state parliament, was closed off by armed police.

 

Live television footage showed patrons inside a cafe standing with their hands pressed against the windows. A black and white flag similar to those used by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria was also visible.

 

NSW Police tweeted: "A police operation is underway in Martin Place, Sydney's CBD. People are advised to avoid the area."

 

Dozens of police including a SWAT team were setting up and a couple of hundred people were being held back by cordons.

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As we have noted previously...

 

At least 20 are believed to have returned to Australia and pose a security risk, the head of the national spy agency said last week.