Islamic terrorism has arrived in Australia!
The calls of ISIS have been heeded and now we are beginning to experience what many parts of the Islamic world call a normal day.
The ABC reports the following summary:
- “Undisclosed number” of hostages inside the Lindt cafe in central Sydney, police say
- The armed offender into the cafe has been identified as Iranian cleric Man Haron Monis
- Almost seven hours into the siege, three people were seen running out of the cafe. An hour later another two emerged
- New South Wales Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn could not confirm how many people were being held hostage, but police believed it was fewer than 30
- Police are working to determine the motivation of the offender and have moved to a footing consistent with a terrorism event
- A black flag with white Arabic writing reading “There is no God but Allah” and “Mohammed is the messenger of God” was waved behind the hostages
- Martin Place, Sydney Opera House, State Library and all CBD court houses evacuated
- National Security Committee of Cabinet has convened; Prime Minister Tony Abbott described incident as “profoundly shocking” and offered NSW all assistance possible
And here is the report:
Police are negotiating with a gunman who is holding a number of people inside a central Sydney cafe, hours after five hostages ran from the building.
The armed man, identified by police as Iranian cleric Man Haron Monis, entered the Lindt cafe in Martin Place at about 9.45am (AEDT) on Monday and has held an unknown number of staff and customers inside throughout the day.
Heavily armed police surrounded the building and evacuated shoppers and workers from the area as an exclusion zone was put in place.
Five hostages, including three Lindt staff members, emerged from a front and side door of the cafe several hours after the siege began but it is not clear if they escaped or were released.
New South Wales Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn said police were in contact with Monis, whose identity was already known to them.
“We have the best negotiators in the world and we are working through this methodically to make sure that nobody is injured,” she said.
She said the five hostages who emerged from the cafe were being assessed to ensure they were in good health and were being spoken to by police.
Hostages were seen pressing a black flag displaying Arabic text against the cafe window soon after police were called to the busy pedestrian thoroughfare.
The text on the flag said: “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of God.”
Just before 4:00pm, two men were seen running out a front door of the cafe, one with his arms in the air.
A man wearing a Lindt apron also ran from a side door that was surrounded by heavily armed police.
About an hour later, two female cafe workers were seen running from the building.
One, wearing an apron, ran into the arms of a police officer outside.
The ABC is among numerous media outlets to have been contacted by hostages at the hostage taker’s request.
Police have asked media not to broadcast details about the phone calls.
Monis was seen wearing a backpack and bandana, and waving what appeared to be a gun, and directing hostages inside the cafe.
At one point, he appeared to use a hostage as a human shield as he moved through the building.
Look back over the live blog to see how the events of the Sydney siege unfolded.
This evening, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the police focus was on getting the remaining hostages out safely.
“Our plan, our only goal tonight and for as long as this takes, is to get those people that are currently caught in that building, out of there safely,” he said.
“That remains our number one priority and nothing will change.”
Earlier, Deputy Commissioner Burn said she could not confirm how many people were being held hostage, but police believed it was fewer than 30.
NSW Health confirmed one of the hostages was in a satisfactory condition after being treated at St Vincent’s Hospital.
Some mosques, synagogues and churches held prayer vigils in Sydney and other Australian cities this evening.
This morning, emergency crews used ladders to evacuate people, including a baby, from upper levels of the building.
Hundreds of officers, many of them heavily armed and wearing body armour, took up positions in the area and several surrounding blocks were cleared.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott made a brief statement after chairing Cabinet’s national security committee meeting this evening.
“It is profoundly shocking that innocent people should be held hostage by an armed person claiming political motivation,” he said.
“Nevertheless, I can say that NSW Police and other agencies have responded to this incident with great professionalism.
“Yes, it has been a difficult day. Yes, it is a day which has tested us, but so far like Australians in all sorts of situations, we have risen to the challenge.”
Already, the doublespeak has filled the media with people tripping over themselves to repeat “lone wolf” as often as they can:
The president of the Lebanese Muslim Association, Samier Dandan, said Australian Muslim leaders were in talks to see if the community could help.
He said it was not known who was behind the siege and whether there were any links to the Australian Muslim community.
“Whether he is someone who belongs to the Australian Muslim community or not, we are still waiting for information to be provided by police, and based on that if there’s something the Muslim community can do or assist, we are there.”
The director of the Global Terrorism Research Centre, Professor Greg Barton, said the black flag was clearly meant to signify a link with a terror group, possibly the Islamic State.
“It’s likely a link with its groups, and what’s happening in Syria, rather than a statement of faith,” he told 702 ABC Sydney.
“But it could also be a single lone wolf attacker.”
Generally, wolves are pack hunters and historically, so is Islam.
This is the beginning of Islamic terrorism forAustralia and it is certainly not an end.
There is a hope of security in Jesus Christ that Islam and its ongoing terrorism cannot touch – seek Jesus today and know eternal security!
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39 ESV