Australian army commandos are reported to have stormed a cafe in Sydney’s central business district bringing to an end a 17-hour hostage crisis which gripped the nation on Monday.

Hostages Flee Lindt Cafe, Sydney

The Guardian reports that a heavily armed team of commandos breached the Lindt Cafe deploying flashbangs with scenes of groups of hostages running out of the building. Unconfirmed reports indicate the hostage crisis has resulted in two civilian casualties and the death of the hostage-taker.

Authorities have identified the man behind the attack as Man Haron Monis, a troubled individual of Iranian descent with a criminal background, and whose extremist views have reportedly caused him to be shunned by the local muslim Shiite community. Monis is said to have bestowed upon himself the title of Ayatollah or ‘supreme cleric’ much to the anger of the local muslim community.

Earlier reports of the hostage crisis indicate that the hostage-taker forced hostages to display a white and black flag which bore Islam’s “declaration of faith” tenet.

Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, Australia’s grand mufti [leader], has condemned the actions of Man Monis upon revelation of the hostage-taker’s identity and background. “The grand mufti and the Australian National Imam Council condemn this criminal act unequivocally and reiterate that such actions are denounced in part and in whole in Islam,” Dr. Mohammad said.

Monday’s terror attack is certain to bring the issue of terrorism to the spotlight in a nation which is largely unaccustomed to terror attacks. Investigations are ongoing.


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