UPDATE: 40 to 50 hostages.
This story is breaking now. Live stream here.
“A man is holding several people hostage at Martin Place cafe,” News.com.au, December 15, 2014 (thanks to Jill):
AT LEAST one armed man is holding several people hostage at a cafe in Martin Place in Sydney.
There are hostages standing with their hands up at the windows in the popular Lindt chocolate shop, which has two or three entrances. There is also a black and white flag being held up in a window. It is believed to be the Black Standard, a jihadist flag.
Staff in shop aprons can be seen with their hands on the windows. There are also reports that there is more than one gunman.
Police officers have guns drawn outside the cafe.
The chocolate shop is 30 or 40 metres from the Channel 7 offices so they have cameras trained on the building. The newsroom at Channel 7 has been evacuated.
There are State Government agencies in the same building and police have shut down traffic in a wide perimeter surrounding the incident.
There is no confirmation yet that this is a terrorist attack….
Of course! It’s workplace violence!
There are at least thirteen hostages: “Siege situation in Martin Place,” 7News Sydney, December 15, 2014:
A siege situation is underway in Sydney’s Martin Place as a gunman holds up a Lindt Chocolate Cafe.
Police have confirmed an operation is underway after officers were called to the shop around 9:45am on Monday.
It’s believed at least 13 hostages are being held in the cafe, where an black flag with white Arabic writing was reportedly brandished across the window.
The faces of customers and workers were pressed up against a shop window of the Lindt Chocolat Cafe.
They had their hands in the air and their eyes closed. And were made to hold up what is believed to be an Islamic State flag….