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Three of the hostages being held by an unknown gunman at the Lindt Chocolat Café, a chocolate shop and cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place, reportedly have escaped from the gunman holding them. Two people were seen leaving the shop’s front door with their hands raised into the air. A third man, wearing an apron, was seen running out the fire exit door, according to Mashable, though other reports have mentioned that they all left by the fire exit. since then, two other hostages have either been freed or also have escaped.
Earlier reports, including one published here, speculated that the gunman was holding at least 13 hostages in the shop, possibly by a person with ties to ISIS, as a black Jihadist type of flag bearing Islamic slogans was seen displayed, held by two of the female hostages, in a window of the shop.
New South Wales (NSW) Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn stated in an earlier press conference that the number one aim of the police department “is to resolve this issue peacefully.” She added that there have not been anything yet “to suggest anyone has been harmed.” The Sydney police have not released information as to who the three people are that either escaped or were possibly released from the Lindt Chocolat Café.
The three hostages who initially escaped did so six hours after a gunman carrying a blue bag entered the shop and took an unknown number of people inside as his hostages. The incident occurred during morning rush hour in Sydney, Australia. just in, two other hostages have either escaped or have been freed, according to a report by BreakingNews.com, making a total of five.
The police have the entire area locked down and the Sydney Opera House has cancelled performances while the situation is ongoing. Office buildings in the vicinity have been evacuated. The Lindt Chocolat Café is located right in Sydney’s financial district, and the New South Wales state parliament is also nearby.
In a statement by Lindt on the company’s Facebook page, they write “The matter is being dealt with by the authorities and we are waiting for any updates from them.” They also thanked everyone involved in resolving the situation, and add “our thoughts and prayers are with the staff and customers involved and all their friends and families.”
The taking of the hostages has not, as yet, been confirmed to be a terrorist act, but the police are treating it as if it is one. Translation work done on the message written on the black flag has revealed that, in English, it means “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger,” according to Fox News.
Live video has been broadcast by various media sources as the entire hostage situation event at the Lindt Chocolat Café has unfolded. Police have the building surrounded, and have their guns drawn. emergency personnel are on hand if needed.
The situation involving the unknown number of hostages that are still being held captive inside of the Sydney, Australia Lindt Chocolat Café is still ongoing. Further updates will follow as more information becomes released.
Written By Douglas Cobb