Confirming one of the hostage-taker’s demands in my post here, the Telegraph is reporting that he has indeed demanded an Islamic State flag: “Sydney siege: gunman ‘demands Islamic State flag,'” the Telegraph, December 15, 2014:
A man holding hostages in a Sydney cafe on Monday has demanded that a flag of the Islamic State in the levant group, also known as Isis, be delivered to him and warned that four bombs have been planted around the city, a report said.
A major square in the heart of the Australian city is in lockdown with hundreds of armed police surrounding the Lindt chocolate cafe, where a flag – black with white Arabic writing – was held to a window by customers.
It appears to be the shahada, or profession of faith in Islam, and says: “There is no god but Allah; Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah.”
The fact he then demanded an Isil flag sparked speculation that the gunman may have made a mistake in his initial choice of flag.
Maybe, but both flags have exactly the same words on them, just with a different design. He probably just wants to emphasize his allegiance with the Islamic State. And the police are working to comply with this demand — rather than, say, move snipers near to the shop: “Why did police ask former terror suspect for an ISIS flag?,” by Candace Sutton and Daniel Piotrowski, Daily Mail, December 15, 2014:
Counter terrorism police have contacted Sydney man and onetime terror accused Zaky Mallah and asked him for an ISIS flag.
Just over four hours into the Martin Place siege, officers the NSW Police Joint Counter Terrorism Team and asked him if he could give them an ISIS flag.
Zaky Mallah, 30, from Westmead in western Sydney offered the Counter Terrorist police the flag that hangs on the wall of his apartment, the moderate Islamic Front flag, but ‘they weren’t interested’.
The news comes as Radio 2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley said he had three telephone conversations with a young man who is among the hostages and that the hostage said the gunman had made several demands.
Earlier, the gunman appeared to force the hostages to hold up another Islamic flag, the Shahada which bears the words in Arabic, ‘There is no God but Allah’.
Mr Mallah was the first person to be charged with terrorism back in 2003 after he made a video which Federal Police and ASIO said contained a planned suicide attack on federal government offices in Sydney….