Lights go out in Sydney siege cafe as FIFTEEN hostages face night of terror. Muslim fanatic becomes ‘extremely agitated’ after five hostages escape by running for their lives.
Man Haron Monis – also known as Sheik Haron – has been named as the gunman holding up to 15 people hostage in a Sydney café and is believed to be an Islamic State preacher who is on bail for accessory to murder.
The 49-year-old man lives in southwest Sydney, but is originally from Iran and a self-proclaimed sheik, and has previously accused the families of Australian dead soldiers of being murderers in letters and also been charged with sexual assault, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Arriving as a refugee in Australia in 1996, the hostage taker was charged with accessory – both before and after the fact – for the murder of his ex-wife – who was allegedly stabbed and set on fire on a flight of stairs in her apartment building in Sydney.
The man’s current partner was charged with murder but they both received bail as the case was deemed too weak.
He was also arrested for the sexual assault of a 27-year-old woman in 2002 after luring her to his clinic following claims he was as an expert in astrology, meditation and black magic, The Daily Telegraph reports.
As many as 15 hostages seized by a gunman who stormed a Sydney cafe at morning rush hour on Monday are facing a terrifying night as a siege in the centre of the city continued after dark, hours after five captives made a courageous break for freedom.
Three videos were released on YouTube of the hostages declaring the gunman’s demands, which included the police bringing an ISIS flag to the cafe and insisting that he speak with Prime Minister Tony Abbott – however Daily Mail Australia decided not to air the disturbing footage.
Channel Nine reported the gunman’s name after receiving approval from senior police.
Witnesses saw food prepared in the cafe’s kitchen brought out to the remaining hostages, thought to number between ten and 15, as the stand-off with heavily armed police entered its twelfth hour.
The drama began unfolding around 9,30 am, when a gunman entered the cafe, located in one of busiest plazas in Sydney’s central business district, and pulled a shotgun from a blue carry bag and disabled the doors to the business.
Soon afterwards, hostages were seen with their hands pressed against the windows holding up the Islamic Shahada flag. It is an emblem of extremist group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is fighting the Assad government in Syria. The man was described as wearing a headband with Arabic writing on it.
Scores of police rushed to the scene, evacuating surrounding buildings and closing off part of the city. The scene sent shockwaves across Australia, where terror attacks have rarely touched home soil.
Paramilitary police armed with automatic rifles spent all day Monday surrounding the cafe, but senior commanders said they would be taking a patient approach to the siege and hoped to end it through negotiation with the gunman.
A total of five hostages, including barista Elly Chen, managed to escape the cafe by scrambling out a side door about seven hours into the drama. Fear etched on their faces, they ran into the arms of waiting police.
Read more: Daily Mail