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Police stormed a cafe in central Sydney early Tuesday where a gunman held more than a dozen hostages for more than 16 hours, firing automatic weapons and throwing grenades moments after captives were seen fleeing the building in terror.
A scene of pandemonium erupted in the early morning just minutes after hostages started emerging from the cafe on their own or in small groups.
Eleven hostages were reportedly accounted for after the police raid – Nine News reported. Sky News reported four people were injured. Live TV footage showed at least two people being taken away on stretchers but there was no confirmation of details.
One hostage was seen being carried out of the building. The woman seemed quite distressed and in a lot of pain as blood gushing from her legs.
After the raid, a bomb disposal robot was seen entering the cafe.
The dramatic end stage of the siege came as the gunman holding the remaining captives was revealed as a self-proclaimed Islamic cleric Man Haron Monis.
Monis is a 49-year-old man living in southwest Sydney, but is originally from Iran and a self-proclaimed sheik, and also sent hate mail to the families of Australian dead soldiers between 2007 and 2009, according to The Daily Telegraph.
The seige in the Lindt cafe in Martin Place on Monday follows an unsuccessful attempt to have these charges overturned in the High Court on Friday, The Age reported.
Monis received 300 community service hours and a two-year good behaviour bond for the correspondence, which he claims were his version of sympathy cards, sent with the help from his girlfriend Amirah Droudis.
Arriving as a refugee in Australia in 1996, the hostage-taker was charged as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife – who was allegedly stabbed and set on fire on a flight of stairs in her western Sydney apartment block in November 2013.
The man’s current partner was charged with murder but they both received bail as the case was deemed too weak.
Read more: Daily Mail