UPDATE #1: There are some unconfirmed reports that instead of 13 hostages, there may be as many as 50 hostages inside either the cafe itself or the building. There are other reports that Islamists have threatened that there are four locations with explosives in different areas of Sydney.
According to Australian media, ISIS has taken thirteen people hostage in a chocolates café in the business district of Sydney, Australia known as Martin Place. The situation began shortly after 10:00 a.m. local time. A television station directly across the street from the café has been monitoring what is happening thus far.
Some of the hostages inside the Lindt’s Chocolate Cafe are reportedly being forced to hold up ISIS flags against the windows of the building, others are being forced to press their hands up against the windows.
Police have cleared the area, all public transportation in the area has been stopped, including all flights over Sydney.
According to News 7 in Sydney, Australian Parliament member Bernie Finn posted on his Facebook page: “Islamic terrorists have taken hostages in a Martin Place cafe in Sydney. This could be the day we’ve been fearing.
Finn may have been referring to a threat issued over the summer by an Australian citizen, Mohamed Elomar, who joined ISIS. He pledged to bring terrorism to his country, and warned that Australia should be worried.
This story shall be updated.
The Tony Abbot, the Australian Prime Minister, issued the following statement: