A 16-hour hostage situation has come to an end in Sydney, Australia after a man identified as Man Haron Monis, an Iranian refugee with a criminal history, held up several hostages at gunpoint inside a Lindt Chocolate Cafe. The situation began early Monday morning (local time) during rush hour in Sydney’s Martin Place, a bustling plaza in the center of the city.
The world watched as the hostage situation unfolded throughout the day and into evening as police negotiated with the gunman. Though some hostages trickled out throughout the duration of the siege, police had to storm the cafe to bring the situation to a full conclusion.
The crisis ended with two dead, including the gunman, as well as several injured. The terrifying act comes at a sensitive time in Australia as parliament had recently raised terror warnings in September in response to the domestic threat posed by supporters of the Islamic State group following past threats to the country.
Click here to watch coverage of the siege in Sydney as police stormed the cafe and concluded the crisis.
My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Sydney, the hostages, and their loved ones during this difficult time.