Five Hostages Escape From Sydney Cafe
Five hostages have escaped from the Sydney, Australia cafe where they were being held, but the siege continues with an unknown number of persons.
Witnesses said they saw a man with a gun walk into the cafe about 9:45 a.m. Sydney time in Martin Place, a plaza in the city center, and lock the door. Soon, local TV stations filmed people through a window with their hands raised. Two held up a black sign with Arabic writing that read, “There is no God but Allah” and “Mohammed is the messenger of God,” according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Neither the identity or affiliation of the armed hostage-taker, if any, had been released, however. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said only that “an armed person” was “claiming political motivation.”
Australia has been threatened with violence by the Islamic State and other extremists in part for its participation in the U.S.-led battle with extremists in Iraq and Syria. New security measures have been put in place in recent months in response and a number of arrests have been made of individuals allegedly plotting acts of violence. Muslim leaders in Australia deplored the incident but pleaded with people not to jump to conclusions.Aftab Malik, a Muslim community leader, issued a statement saying he was shocked by what has taken place, who also works as a scholar-in-residence at the Lebanese Muslim Association in Lakemba in south-west Sydney, said he was shocked by what has taken place.
“We need to avoid wild speculation and use sensitive language to avoid any tensions escalating,” he said, according to Australian Broadcasting. The black flag, he said, quoted the Muslim testimony of faith.[su_csky_ad]