ONE of the hostages fatally shot in the Martin Place siege is being praised as the hero of the siege.
Nine News is reporting a man was wrestling a gun from gunman Man Haron Monis when he was killed.
It is understood the 34-year-old man decided to take action when the hostage-taker begun to doze off after the siege had been ongoing for 17 hours.
The second hostage killed has been identified as Katrina Dawson, 38. The mother-of-two is the sister of well known Sydney lawyer Sandy Dawson.
The hero hostage is among three people who were killed — including gunman Man Haron Monis — in the Martin Place cafe siege after heavily armed police stormed the location.
Police confirmed two hostages and the hostage-taker died and four others were injured during the police operation that brought the siege at Lindt cafe to an end just after 2am today after more than 17 hours.
A man was seen running with his hands up before a crowd of hostages following fleeing from the cafe just after 2am. A short burst of gunfire and flash grenades were heard as police stormed the building before declaring the siege over at around 2.45am.
Police have confirmed a man, aged 34, and a woman, aged 38, were pronounced dead after being taken to hospital.
The gunman, 50-year-old Man Haron Monis who was known to police as a self-styled preacher of Islamic state on bail for an accessory to murder charge, was also pronounced dead at hospital.
A woman is carried by police from Lindt cafe (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images) Source: Getty Images
Paramedics treat an injured hostage. Source: AFP
Two women have been taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries and another woman is being treated for a gunshot wound to her shoulder.
A police officer who was seen with an amount of blood streaming from his head has been transported to hospital and is being treated for a gunshot wound to the face.
Addressing media this morning Commissioner Scipione confirmed police were treating the operation as a critical incident and an investigation was underway.
“We need to actually find out what’s happened here and what’s happened inside that cafe,” he said.
The Commissioner assured Sydneysiders this was an “isolated incident” and urged that this incident not “bring about any loss of confidence about working or visiting in our city”.
Commissioner Scipione said his thoughts were with the hostages and their families, innocent people “who were just buying a cup of coffee and got caught up in this dreadful affair”.
NSW Premier Mike Baird and Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione have confirmed details of the operation this morning.Source: News Corp Australia
Premier Mike Baird has also addressed media paying tribute to the families of the deceased and hostages, and rallying the people of NSW to “come together like never before”.
“We will get through this. The events we have seen have shaken us, but do not dampen our resolve,” he said.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has released a statement this morning following briefings with the NSW premier and police commissioner.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two deceased hostages, the wounded and the other hostages,” he said.
“I commend the courage and the professionalism of the New South Wales Police and other emergency services.”
Mr Abbott will travel to Sydney early this afternoon to be further briefed by NSW police and other security agencies.
Hostages run for their lives Source: AP
Lindt CEO Ernst Tanner has also released a statement this morning, expressing his “deepest sympathy to the victims and their families”.
“In these difficult times we all need to stand together in order to defend the values of freedom, peace and tolerance,” he said.
The company has offered support for victims and their families, as well as their staff affected.
Authorities have commenced an extensive investigation and are currently attempting to assess the damage and arrange urgent medical attention for the hostages and police.
It is believed the area has now been cleared for risk of explosives and floral tributes have begun to be laid outside the exclusion zone at Martin Place.
Hostages fled from the Sydney cafe where the gunman had been holding 17 hostages for 17 hours.
Police have been reluctant to reveal details of what prompted them to storm the building, but it has been reported hostages took the opportunity to escape as their captor begun to doze off.
Television footage initially showed a man running from the eatery with his arms raised, shortly after 2am before being patted down by police and escorted to safety.
Minutes later, two more men and two women raced outside and were directed away by police.
Their escape was followed by about 40 seconds of rapid gunfire as heavily-armed police stormed the cafe in numbers, managing to release others.
Two armed tactical response officers stand ready to enter the Lindt cafe.(AP Photo/Glenn Nicholls) Source: AP
A woman, apparently middle-aged, was carried from the scene injured.
A second volley of shots erupted before the cafe filled with police and paramedics.
A number of stretchers were wheeled into the building to treat the injured. A bomb disposal robot was sent into the cafe by police.
Mr Scipione said police had no choice but to enter the building, after hearing gunshots and feared hostages had been hit.
“They made the call because they believed at that time if they didn’t enter it would have been many more lives lost,” he said.
More hostages make a run for it. Source: Supplied
Police remain on scene. AFP PHOTO / SAEED KHAN Source: AFP
Monis was known to police as a self-styled preacher of Islamic State. He was on bail for accessory to murder, at the time he took the terrified hostages in Sydney’s Lindt cafe.
The 50-year-old, originally from Iran who lived in southwest Sydney, had previously sent offensive letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers, calling them ‘murderers’, The Daily Telegraph says.
He had a sawn-off shotgun and was a fringe Islamist, The Australian and Sky News reports.
The self-proclaimed IS leader’s former lawyer has described his warped outlook, saying Monis was committed to his causes, and truly believed that by sending offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers he would “get the families onside and they would assist him”.
‘Sheik’ Man Haron Monis Source: News Corp Australia
‘Sheik’ Man Haron Monis leaves Downing Centre Court after pleading guilty to sending offensive letters to families of dead Diggers. Source: News Limited
The ordeal began around 10am on Monday when Monis entered the Lindt cafe and reportedly withdrew a shotgun from a blue bag.
Throughout the day hostages were seen pressed against the windows of the Lindt cafe, captured first by the Seven Network from their Martin Place studio directly opposite the location.
Some were forced to contact news outlets and use social media to relay the gunman’s demands.
At one stage a woman was used as a human shield as the gunman moved around inside the cafe.
Hostages were forced to hold an Islamic flag against the windows in turn.
Five hostages managed to escape yesterday, running from the back service door of the cafe into the arms of heavily armed police officers outside.
From 8pm the building was in darkness with the 12 remaining hostages and hostage-taker inside.
Heavily armed police and other authorities waited outside alert to any activity going on in the cafe.
As shots were heard and hostages fled just after 2am they sprung into action.
Hostages forced to stand against the windows of the Lindt cafe yesterday. Source: Supplied
Five people managed to escape yesterday. AFP PHOTO / SAEED KHAN Source: AFP
A hostage runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith) Source: AP
As the siege exploded in Sydney’s Lindt Cafe, the world watched.
In the United States, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC and other 24-hour news channels had already dedicated most of their Monday morning programming to coverage of the emergency.
When the situation climaxed with hostages fleeing and heavily armed authorities storming the cafe in Sydney’s central business district, people around the world watched live.
CNN switched programming to the Seven Network’s coverage, while FOX News switched to Australia’s Sky News.
The New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the UK’s Independent and Times, France’s Le Monde and other news websites also were dominated by the harrowing photos of hostages running for their lives.
Police remain on scene. AFP PHOTO / SAEED KHAN Source: AFP
Residents and city workers have been advised to go about their day as usual, but police have advised some road diversions remain in place.
Trains are running normally but Martin Place station will be closed.
Police have advised:
Traffic and Highway Patrol police have cordoned off parts of Hunter, King, Phillip and Elizabeth streets.
• Elizabeth Street between Hunter and King Streets — closed to all traffic
• Elizabeth Street — northbound between Market and King Street — closed to all traffic
• Phillip Street — between King and Hunter Streets — closed to all traffic
• King Street — between Elizabeth and Phillip Streets — closed to all traffic
• Macquarie Street — between St James Road and Hunter Street — closed to all traffic
Bus services will run according to regular schedules, although some routes will be diverted around the affected area.
People intending to travel to the Sydney CBD, away from the cordoned off area are advised, to go ahead with their plans.
Those affected by the operation are advised to contact their employers, monitor media reports and seek advice via the NSW Police website and social media platforms. -Liveleak