Radical Muslim Cleric Killer Man Haron Monis Behind Hostage Taking In Sydney Cafe - Siege Ended 3 Reported Dead Including Terrorist
December 15, 2014
Update: "Police say 34-year-old man and 38-year-old woman are among 3 dead in Sydney hostage crisis."
Update: Four people are reported injured.
BLOODY END TO SIEGE: Three believed dead, including Muslim gunman and at least two hostages, as police storm Sydney cafe with assault rifles and stun grenades moments after hostages tried to flee
Police stormed the cafe in central Sydney where a gunman held hostages for more than 16 hours
Police moved in firing automatic weapons and throwing grenades as hostages were seen fleeing in terror from cafe
Live TV footage showed hostages running frantically from the cafe at shortly after 2am in small groups
It came hours after Man Haron Monis was named as the gunman holding people hostage in a Sydney café
Iranian refugee, 49, was charged with accessory in the murder of his ex-wife
He was also facing multiple charges of sexual assault while claiming to be a 'spiritual healer'
Monis received 300 community service hours for sending hate mail to the families of Australian dead soldiers
The seige follows an unsuccessful attempt to have these charges overturned in the High Court on Friday
He forced hostages to hold up black flag with white writing in Arabic, an emblem linked to terror groups
By Emily Crane and Daniel Piotrowskiand Sarah Dean and Louise Cheer and Candace Sutton for Daily Mail Australia and Leesa Smith and Heather Mcnab
Sydney Siege Ends in Hail of Gunfire
Police have now stormed the cafe in Sydney where a radical Muslim cleric has held tens of people hostage, according to live footage from the scene - and New South Wales Police have now officially declared the siege "over."
Loud gunshots and the ring of flash-bang grenades were heard and the windows broken after several more hostages escaped the cafe. Police are now bringing more and more people out. Some are wounded. (Update: 5:18 pm IST)
More gunshots have now been heard; a fire alarm blares senselessly in an adjacent building. At least one of the hostages has been hit and is being seen carried out by police.
Police appear to be doing CPR; the injured is confirmed to be a female hostage, possibly in her 40s. Fire and ambulance crews have arrived to help with the exodus; several of the injured were transported to Royal North Shore Hospital.
Four to five have been injured, multiple news sites now reporting; Channel Seven News, the offices of which are across from the cafe, is reporting that two to three people may also be dead.
Reports are circulating quickly on social media that the gunman was one of two dead from the police raid, but this has yet to be officially confirmed.
A press conference will be held at 5:00 am AEDT (8:00 pm IST, 1:00 pm EST) to clarify the details.
The mysterious Islamist gunman at the center of the hostage crisis in a Sydney cafe has been named as Man Haron Monis, 49, Sydney police announced Monday afternoon.
The cleric, born in Iran, also goes by the name Mohammad Hassan Manteghi.
Known as the "hate sheikh," Monis claims to practice black magic and has a spotty criminal record, according to the Telegraph, including allegations of murdering his ex-wife and a conviction for sending offensive letters to bereaved families of dead Australian soldiers.
In that case, in late 2009, Monis escaped jail time - but was still forced to serve 300 hours of community service for the offenses, and gained some infamy for having chained himself to the courthouse in protest.
In April, Monis was implicated in the murder of ex-wife Noleen Pal, who was found dead in a stairwell with burns and stab wounds. Monis's current wife, Amirah Droudis, 34, was also implicated in Pal's murder.
Monis also faces over 40 charges of sexual assault levied against him in October, including at least seven women from Wentworthville who claimed he approached them during his work as a "spiritual healer" and practitioner of black arts there.
He is currently on bail and had been due to appear in court over indecent and sexual assault charges in February 2015, according to Australia's Nine News.
Monis has taken about 40 people hostage at the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in central Sydney since 4:00 pm local time Monday. Several have been spotted at the front window of the cafe, holding an extremist flag closely resembling ISIS's.
Five hostages have escaped thus far, escaping out side doors into the arms of police monitoring the situation, as footage released earlier Monday reveals.
In the interim, Monis has shut the lights to the cafe, leaving news crews frustrated as they stand watch across the street watching the siege.
He has also released videos stating that he wants an ISIS flag and a phone call from Australian prime minister Tony Abbott - as well as making bomb threats.
Several reports are now surfacing that, according to the escaped hostages, Monis has claimed he has planted at least 4 bombs around Sydney.
According to Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporters now at the scene after the siege ended, family members stated to the press outside the cafe that the Islamists within had forced the hostages to produce "staged videos" and send them to their loved ones. Details of the videos - which are reminiscent of the beheading videos sent out by ISIS in Syria and Iraq - are still not available to the press.
Click on link for pictures:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Gunman, Two Others Dead, Four Injured in Sydney Siege Three dead, four injured; police reveal they are still unclear on details and will not release information until it is accurate.
Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione and New South Wales premier Mike Baird were schedule to hold a press conference Monday night (5:00 am Tuesday local time; 8:00 pm IST), where they were to clarify the details of a dramatic standoff between security officials and an Islamist gunman during an hours-long hostage crisis at a Sydney Cafe.
It has now been confirmed that the gunman, Man Haron Monis, is dead; two people - a 34 year-old man and a 38 year-old woman - were fatally wounded in the raid.
Four additional people have been injured. Of those, two women have "non-life-threatening injuries"; one woman has a gunshot wound to her shoulder; and a male police officer suffered moderate wounds to his face from gunshot pellets.
"In the past 24 hours this city has been shaken by a tragedy we never could have imagined," NSW premier Mike Baird stated.
"Our first thoughts and prayers this morning are with the innocent victims of this horrendous, vicious attack," he continued. "Everyone in New South Wales stands beside you. They stand beside you today, they stand beside you tomorrow, they stand beside you forever."
Baird then paid tribute to the New South Wales police before addressing the public.
"We are a peaceful, harmonious society that is the envy of the world," he added, noting that everyone. "Today, we must come together like never before. We are stronger together. We will get through this. We will get through this."
Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione called the hostage a "critical incident."
"We need to actually find out what's happened here and what's happened inside that cafe," he said. "It's not time to speculate or to develop theories. We are going to work through facts and we will advise you as soon as we can."
The Commissioner empathized at length with the hostages, and said "we should reflect on that courage [. . .] our hearts go out to them."
"To the people of Sydney: this was an isolated incident," he continued. "This will not change our lives. This will not change the values we hold dear."
"This was an act of an individual," he confirmed.
He added that they have confirmed that there were 17 hostages - far less than initially reported - and that of those, two are deceased and six were unharmed. The remainder were wounded.
He also confirmed that the gunman is dead and that a police officer has suffered wounds to the face.
During Question-and-Answer, Scipone detailed that the decision was made out of consideration for others' lives, and that "more lives would have been lost" if the police had not entered. In addition, the NSW police did not know that there had been injuries until after the raid.
Moreover, he assured that the gunman shot first, to the best of his knowledge.
Until then, he said, "when it's accurate, and only when it's accurate, will we release," emphasizing that he has refused "to give information for the sake of giving information."
"Fringe of the fringe"
Earlier Monday, police identified "hate sheikh" Man Haron Monis, 49, as the gunman responsible for spinning the peaceful city into terror after he held a yet-unknown number of people hostage in the Lindt Chocolat Cafe.
Several eyewitness accounts say that Monis was acting erratically just before the siege, and one man told the Telegraph that he had bumped into the cleric in the street minutes before he stormed the cafe, and that Monis had turned to him and asked, "do you want me to shoot you, too?"
During the standoff, Monis, who has a long criminal record, reportedly demanded to speak to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and to be given an ISIS flag during the standoff, which unfolded on live television as terrified hostages held an extremist Islamist flag up to the cafe's windows hours into the crisis.
Reports have also surfaced that he made statements intimating that several bombs had been placed around the city.
The standoff, which lasted approximately sixteen hours, ended dramatically Monday night after several hostages ran free of the cafe' into the waiting arms of police. The escape, eyewitnesses told CNN, "extremely agitated" the gunman, who began screaming and firing gunshots, evoking a police response.
After a series of loud bangs, broken windows, and some gunfire, police stormed the cafe' at approximately 2:00 am local time, releasing many (if not all) of the hostages. A bomb disposal robot has also been sent into the building, according to the Guardian.
Initial reports indicate that at least four people were wounded and two are dead in the standoff, including Monis. The injured have been taken to several local hospitals, and reporters from various news outlets at the scene have noted that police are heavily protecting both the identities of the injured and the ambulance itself.
Meanwhile, NSW police have announced before the conference that the "exclusion zone," a several-block radius around Martin Place in downtown Sydney, will remain in effect Tuesday morning and have advised locals not to leave their homes if possible until further notice.
Muslim authorities, meanwhile, have rushed to distance themselves from the attack, emphatically condemning the hostage crisis. One expert, speaking to ABC, called Monis a "fringe of the fringe" and a "clown."
Analysts have stated throughout live news coverage since Monis's identity was revealed that they believe this was a "lone wolf" attack, with a few even intimating that it was fueled by "poor treatment" Monis received in prison.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Sydney Hostage Drama: A Jihadist Propaganda Win? Gunman Man Haron Munis may well have been a deranged, 'fringe' figure, but his actions will still be seen as a PR boon for ISIS.
Arutz Sheva Staff
His motives are a mystery and his acts described as random and deranged, but analysts say the gunman who took a Sydney cafe full of terrified people hostage could still score a propaganda coup for jihadists.
Bearing a black jihadist flag, the Iranian-born Islamist created precisely the sort of lone-wolf attack urged by groups such as the Islamic State - replete with bomb threats, hostages and panic in a major Western city.
Although any link to a specific group has yet to be established, the explosions and flashes of the dramatic police storming of the cafe that left two hostages and the hostage-taker dead, drove home the increasing reality of the "lone wolf" threat.
The gunman was named in Australian media as an Iranian-born "cleric" called Man Haron Monis, aged 49, who had sent offensive letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers and was out on bail on charges of being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife.
He was described as a "fringe Islamist" who acted on his own, and while the reasons for his acts remained murky, analysts said IS could take it as a win for their cause.
"The key thing with these attacks isn't to cause lots of casualties, it is to cause a media buzz, get everyone focused on it, everyone talking about it," said Matthew Henman, the head of London-based IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Centre.
"Every time this sort of thing happens, even if there are no casualties, it is still a propaganda victory for the Islamic State who can say we have people all over the world who are prepared to act in our name."
He said even if the Sydney gunman had not drawn inspiration from IS "they will try and claim (the attack) as some kind of victory for them."
The web-savvy jihadist group that has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria has sent shivers down spines across the globe with calls for spontaneous attacks on "disbelievers".
This poses a nightmare for Western authorities who already have their hands full trying to prevent nationals from leaving to fight alongside IS and tracking them when they return.
"Islamic terrorism has now become totally decentralized," said Steven Emerson of the US-based Investigative Project on Terrorism.
Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani in September singled out Australia, along with France, Canada and America in his rallying call to kill "disbelievers... including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State."
Henman said there had been a "considerable increase" in lone-wolf attacks around the world in the past year coinciding with the IS group's reign of terror in its new so-called caliphate.
"They have realised all they need to do is something which is attention-grabbing, whether it's running someone down with a car, attacking someone with a knife, which maybe isn't going to cause high casualties but is seen to be doing something," he told AFP.
In May this year a Frenchman who had spent more than a year fighting alongside Islamist extremists in Syria was arrested for killing four people at the Brussels Jewish Museum.
In September Australia foiled a plot by IS jihadists to carry out random beheadings in the country and saw a suspected militant shot dead after he stabbed two policemen.
October saw the first successful jihadist attacks on Canadian soil - including the storming of its parliament - which resulted in the deaths of two unarmed soldiers.
The idea of individual jihad is not new.
Islamist Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad have long encouraged such random acts of violence against Israelis, most recently illustrated in a deadly spate of attacks over the past several weeks and months.
Al Qaeda as well has for years called on recruits and volunteers to go it alone without specific orders or training.
Online jihadist magazines have published recipe upon recipe for homemade bomb-making - "how to make one in your mother's kitchen" being one of them - as well as lists of prime targets.
"ISIS has copied that same play book in calling for local attacks," said Emerson, using an alternative name for the group.
"These attacks are happening all over the world now especially fueled beyond the Internet by the rise of social media which has pushed the message of Islamic terrorism virtually as fast as the speed of light."
AFP contributed to this report.
The highly-trained police officers were more concerned about the contents of the Man Haron Monis' backpack than his firearm when they stormed the Lindt cafe in the chilling final seconds of the Sydney siege.
The six State Protection Group officers were ordered to enter the Martin Place building immediately after cafe manager Tori Johnson was shot in the head by the gunman, reports the Daily Telegraph.
The crucial movements of the SPG officers have been praised as 'text book entry' by those within the police force, as the specially-trained squad displayed a calm and composed nature despite their suspicions that Monis was strapped with an explosive...
...Meanwhile, tapes of the man responsible for the Martin Place terror plot delivering religious rants, saying 'Society should behave in an Islamic manner', have been unearthed.
In 2009, the self-styled sheik - five years before he carried out the 16-hour attack where he held 18 people hostage in Martin Place's Lindt Cafe in Sydney's CBD last month - imparted his extremist views to a crowd inside a prayer hall in the city's western suburbs.
The December siege, which shocked Australia and sparked an outpouring of grief from across the nation, ended with the deaths of cafe manager Tori Johnson and mother-of-three Katrina Dawson - who worked as a barrister at nearby law chambers Eight Selborne.
The footage, translated by a Farsi translator for The Daily Telegraph, slammed overseas government who experienced the most violent of crimes, saying: 'your intelligence service is not working properly'.
He believed governments who were 'not aware that there [was] criminal activity happening in your country' then officials should resign from their positions as they were 'incompetent'.
At times, Monis became so passionate he was seen thumping his fists to drive home his message.
Showing his level of paranoia, the terrorist also warned one of the biggest threats against fundamentalist Muslims lay within their community...