A black flag with white Arabic writing held up at the window of the Lindt cafe, where hostages are being held.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The suspected Islamist gunman holding up to 30 people hostage in a downtown Sydney coffee shop is demanding to speak with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott as security forces surround the premises in a tense stand-off.
According to Sky News Australia, the man is also demanding that authorities deliver Islamic State flags to the café. Earlier on Monday, hostages were seen holding a black flag with Arabic and Islamic insignia against the window of the Lindt café in the center of Sydney’s business hub.
Sky News reported on Monday that there are fears the assailant has planted four bombs on the premises. Television reports also indicate that the gunman is using one of the female hostages as a human shield, complicating efforts to bring the crisis to a resolution.
An Australian television channel, Network Ten, reportedly spoke to two hostages inside the café. The hostages “were hysterical as they relayed the man’s demands.”