Israeli religious singers Benny Elbaz and his son Gad left Sydney’s Lindt’s Café now under siege only moments before it was under siege by one or more Islamic fanatics, COL Live reported.
“Several minutes before the kidnapping…, all of our friends left after sitting there and hour and 15 minutes,” Elbaz wrote on Facebook.
“After several moments, it happened! A miracle, a miracle, a miracle of Hanukkah. There are no other words.”
The Elbaz father-and-son team is on tour in Australia and performed Sunday night. They were drinking coffee in the Lindt Café before preparing to fly to New York, via Singapore, for a performance.
“While thankful, my father and I are praying and hoping for a quick release of all the hostages safely and without harm,” Gad Elbaz told COLlive in a phone conversation. “We hope the light of Chanukah will shine their glow on the nation of Israel and the rest of the world,” he said.
Five hostages have escaped from the café, and two of the nearly 50 hostages that remain have been forced by their armed captor to hold up a black flag with Islamic symbols and Arabic writing in the Lindt’s store window.
An Australian broadcaster who refused to speak with the captor on air said that the hostages have been forced to call him “The Brother.” The abductor also has demanded to speak with Australian Prime Tony Abbott.
There no signs that he will talk with the man.
Police have made contact with the gunman
Hundreds of police have placed central Sydney on lockdown, and U.S. officials have evacuated staff from its nearby consulate.
So far, no one has been injured although one of the hostages who escaped was treated at a hospital for undisclosed reasons.