5 people escape from Sydney cafe at center of hours-long hostage drama

By The Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 15, 2014 at 7:30 a.m.



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SYDNEY (AP) — It's Tuesday now in Sydney, Australia, where a gunman continues to hold an unknown number of hostages in a cafe in the heart of the city.

Police are taking a cautious approach as they negotiate with the gunman. Five hostages have managed to flee the cafe, but it's unclear whether they escaped or were released.

Police are not revealing many details, including the man's motives or demands. Australia's Channel 10 news says it received a video in which a hostage inside the cafe relayed the gunman's demands, but police requested they not broadcast it.

The New South Wales state police commissioner says they are trying to do "nothing that could in any way jeopardize" the hostages. The incident began during the Monday morning rush hour and has now dragged on 15 hours.

Television images through the cafe windows have shown several people with their arms in the air and two people holding up a black flag with the Islamic declaration of faith written on it.

Australia's government raised the country's terror warning level in September in response to the domestic threat posed by supporters of the Islamic State group.

%@AP Links

150-c-18-(Kristen Gelineau (JEHL'-ehn-noh), AP correspondent)-"any specific demands"-AP correspondent Kristen Gelineau reports police haven't revealed many details about the dramatic hostage situation in Australia's largest city. (15 Dec 2014)

<<CUT *150 (12/15/14)££ 00:18 "any specific demands"

151-c-19-(Kristen Gelineau (JEHL'-ehn-noh), AP correspondent)-"terrorism-related event"-AP correspondent Kristen Gelineau reports the gunman took control of the cafe during Sydney's morning rush hour. (15 Dec 2014)

<<CUT *151 (12/15/14)££ 00:19 "terrorism-related event"

152-c-19-(Kristen Gelineau (JEHL'-ehn-noh), AP correspondent)-"quite some time"-AP correspondent Kristen Gelineau reports Sydney's financial district has been brought to a standstill. (15 Dec 2014)

<<CUT *152 (12/15/14)££ 00:19 "quite some time"

153-c-15-(Kristen Gelineau (JEHL'-ehn-noh), AP correspondent)-"Australia's biggest cities"-AP correspondent Kristen Gelineau reports Australia has been concerned with home-grown terrorism and the influence of the Islamic State group, which has specifically threatened Australia in the past. (15 Dec 2014)

<<CUT *153 (12/15/14)££ 00:15 "Australia's biggest cities"

APPHOTO XRG115: 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, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. New South Wales state police would not say what was happening inside the cafe or whether hostages were being held. But television footage shot through the cafe's windows showed several people with their arms in the air. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith) (16 Dec 2014)

<<APPHOTO XRG115 (12/16/14)££

APPHOTO XRG116: 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, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. New South Wales state police would not say what was happening inside the cafe or whether hostages were being held. But television footage shot through the cafe's windows showed several people with their arms in the air. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith) (16 Dec 2014)

<<APPHOTO XRG116 (12/16/14)££

APPHOTO TOK802: This image taken from video shows people holding up hands inside a cafe in Sydney, Australia Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. A gunman took an unknown number of people hostage inside the downtown Sydney chocolate shop and cafe at the height of Monday morning rush hour, with two people inside the cafe seen holding up a flag believed to contain an Islamic declaration of faith. (AP Photo/Channel 7 via AP Video) AUSTRALIA OUT (15 Dec 2014)

<<APPHOTO TOK802 (12/15/14)££

APPHOTO XRG103: A police runs along a street close to a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. New South Wales state police would not say what was happening inside the cafe or whether hostages were being held. But television footage shot through the cafe's windows showed several people with their arms in the air and hands pressed against the glass. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith) (15 Dec 2014)

<<APPHOTO XRG103 (12/15/14)££

APPHOTO TOK801: This image taken from video shows people holding up what appeared to be a black flag with white Arabic writing on it, inside a cafe in Sydney, Australia Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. An apparent hostage situation was unfolding inside the chocolate shop and cafe in Australia's largest city on Monday, where several people could be seen through a window with their hands held in the air. (AP Photo/Channel 7 via AP Video) AUSTRALIA OUT (15 Dec 2014)

<<APPHOTO TOK801 (12/15/14)££

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The Associated Press

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