MARTIN PLACE SIEGE REVIEW-Terms of Reference

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MARTIN PLACE SIEGE – JOINT COMMONWEALTH – NEW SOUTH WALES REVIEW

17 December 2014

Prime Minister

Premier of New South Wales

E&OE

In the aftermath of the horrific Martin Place siege and following the tragic loss of innocent lives, we must learn what we can from this incident and implement any changes necessary at the State and Federal level.

The Commonwealth and New South Wales governments will urgently conduct a review into the Martin Place siege and what lessons can be learned from the events leading up to and surrounding the siege.

As our State and Commonwealth law enforcement and security agencies work together to keep Australia safe, the review will identify important lessons for the future.

The review will examine and make recommendations about a wide range of issues including the circumstances surrounding hostage-taker Man Haron Monis’ arrival in Australia and subsequent granting of asylum and citizenship; what information agencies had about him and how it was shared; and whether relevant national security legislative powers could have been better used.

The Terms of Reference for the review are attached.

As we work to learn what we can from these terrible events, we acknowledge once again the courage and professionalism shown by our law enforcement and security agencies and emergency services.

We are determined to ensure that nothing stands in the way of ensuring the people who put their lives on the line to keep Australia safe can get their job done.

We have asked the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Secretary of the New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet to commence the review immediately, drawing on expertise from within our relevant jurisdictions and consulting as necessary with other States and Territories.

The review will report by the end of January 2015.

Martin Place Siege – Terms of Reference

On 17 December 2014 the Prime Minister and Premier of NSW established a review, for consideration by the Commonwealth and NSW Cabinets, of lessons learnt from the Martin Place Siege of 15-16 December 2014.

The aim of the review is to identify lessons for the future: what worked well and what might be improved.

The review will examine and make recommendations in respect of Commonwealth and NSW agencies and the cooperation between them, in relation to:

  • the arrival of Man Haron Monis in Australia and subsequent grant of asylum, permanent residency and Australian citizenship;
  • support received from, or any other interactions Man Haron Monis had with, government social support agencies;
  • information held by Commonwealth and NSW agencies about Man Haron Monis for the period prior to and following his arrival in Australia up until the siege including how any information relevant to public safety was shared between, and used by, agencies;
  • the interaction of Man Haron Monis with the NSW justice system;
  • Man Haron Monis’ access to firearms;
  • whether, how and at what stage relevant national security legislative powers including Control Orders were or could have been used in relation to Man Haron Monis’ activities of security concern;
  • any lessons learnt by the NSW and Australian Federal Police about the handling of the siege;
  • the effectiveness of public communication including coordination of messaging between the Commonwealth, NSW and jurisdictions; and
  • the effectiveness of coordination more generally between the Commonwealth and NSW.

The review will take account of the parallel investigations into the incident including by the NSW State Coroner, and NSW Police and Australian Federal Police.

The review will prepare a report for consideration by the Commonwealth and NSW Cabinets by the end of January 2015.

17 December 2014

Update Martin Place siege: Hostages taken in Lindt Chocolate shop-Ends in tragedy

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This is a very serious situation taking place live on TV. All sorts of reporting about who and why they have taken hostages…Lets hope the hostages get out alive- UPDATE Unfortunately that has not been the case. I personally think they needed to react much much earlier and take the asshole out.The dust will settle and all that will be analysed. My thoughts are really with the family and friends of hostages both dead and alive.

There are hundreds and hundreds of bouquets, it’s probably about 15 metres by 15 metres and growing rapidly… the thing that struck me is that these aren’t just random bouquets, people have gone to the effort of writing personal notes to the families and to the victims.

ABC 702 reporter John Donegan

sad update this morning, he also made hostages film this tape yesterday afternoon causing great anguish and stress, as the hostages cannot understand why a few simple demands had still not been met (in their eyes) which would enable their release.Compelling viewing (removed by youtube ATM)

sheikh-haron-october2014_redacted

letter-to-pm-tony-abbott-1nov13_redacted

about-sheikh-haron

Hauntingly I have been able to find his website via the archives online and check out this ominous warning in relation to channel 7 and something they broadcast quite a while ago, in 2011 (Click image to enlarge

Haron promise


 

Update 10.50AM 16/12/14

THE manager of the Lindt cafe who was fatally shot in the Martin Place siege is being praised as a hero, responsible for allowing others trapped in the cafe to escape.

Tori Johnson, 34, was wrestling a gun from hostage-taker Man Haron Monis when he was killed.

Photo

Hero hostage: Cafe manager Tori Johnson was killed attempting to disarm the gunman.

It is understood the cafe manager decided to take action when the hostage-taker begun to doze off after the siege had been ongoing for 17 hours.

He lunged at the gunman’s weapon, enabling others to flee.

The second hostage killed has been identified as Katrina Dawson, 38. The mother-of-three is the sister of well known Sydney lawyer Sandy Dawson.

Katrina Dawson

Katrina Dawson

Ms Dawson was tragically killed trying to defend her pregnant friend, AAP reports.


 

Sydney siege: Two hostages and gunman dead after heavily armed police storm Lindt cafe in Martin Place

Tue 16 Dec 2014, 7:51am

Paramedics remove a person, with bloodstains on the blankets covering the person, on a stretcher after the end of the Sydney siege on December 16, 2014.

Paramedics remove a person, with bloodstains on the blankets covering the person, on a stretcher after the end of the Sydney siege on December 16, 2014.

About 2:10am (AEDT) there was a confrontation between police and self-styled Iranian cleric Man Haron Monis, who had taken 17 people hostage inside the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place on Monday morning.

Police said shots were fired and as a result, the 50-year-old gunman was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital.

It is not clear if the two hostages who died, a man aged 34 and a woman aged 38, were shot by the gunman or killed in the crossfire.

Monis, who was granted political asylum in Australia, took staff and customers in the cafe hostage shortly before 10:00am (AEDT) on Monday.

He was on bail for a string of violent offences, including being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife.

Monis was also facing more than 40 sexual and indecent assault charges and had a conviction for sending offensive letters to families of deceased Australian soldiers.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott issued a statement commending the “courage and professionalism” of the police and other emergency services involved.

“Australians awoke to the news this morning that the siege in Martin Place has ended,” he said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two deceased hostages, the wounded and the other hostages.”

This morning, NSW Premier Mike Baird addressed a media conference and said: “I come before you with the heaviest of hearts. Unbelievably overnight, we have lost some of our own in an attack we never thought we would see here in our city.

“In the past 24 hours, this city has been shaken by a tragedy that none of us could have ever imagined. The values we held dear yesterday we hold dear today. They are the values of freedom, democracy, and harmony.

“These defined us yesterday, they will define us today, they will define us tomorrow. Our first thoughts and prayers this morning are with the innocent victims of this horrendous, vicious attack.”

Following the confrontation, two women were also taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries, while a male police officer is in a non life-threatening condition after a gunshot wound to his face.

The police operation has concluded and the investigation into the entire incident will be overseen by the Professional Standards Command, a police statement said.

“All information will be provided to the coroner who will determine the cause of, and make any findings about, the events leading to the deaths,” the statement said.

Loud explosions and yelling could be heard from near the cafe at about 2:00am (AEDT) before officers rushed inside.

Just before police stormed the building, at least five hostages came running from the cafe with their hands up and one man lay down on the floor as police patted him down.

Minutes later what appeared to be gunfire and explosions could be heard.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the situation changed suddenly inside the cafe, allowing more of the hostages to escape.

Police then made the quick decision to put their emergency action plan into place and they moved inside the building.

Thanking all the officers involved in the siege, Commissioner Scipione said: “I want to point out they have saved lives, they have saved many lives.”

He said of the hostages: “I can only imagine the terror that they’ve been through. They are very brave people who in many cases were buying a cup of coffee and they got caught up in this dreadful affair.

“We should reflect on their courage, the courage that they displayed during the many hours in that room.”

He said it was an isolated incident and urged: “Do not let this sort of incident bring about any loss of confidence of working or visiting our city.

“It was the act of an individual. This should never destroy or change the way of our life.”

Soon after police entered the cafe, paramedic crews who had been stationed at the scene throughout the day were seen carrying people out of the building on stretchers, and one patient could be seen being resuscitated.

ABC reporter Siobhan Heanue said there were two volleys of gunfire and loud explosions, in the middle of which screams could be heard.

“The sound ricocheted throughout the tall buildings around the area… and hostages started pouring out of the building,” she said.

“Some running, some able to walk, some with their hands up, and some being carried by ambulance staff.”

An exclusion zone around Martin Place remains, with roads still closed, but the police presence has significantly diminished.

The ABC’s Nick Dole said police were working to secure the scene.

“Exactly what is going on inside we don’t know but we have seen evidence that perhaps police from the bomb squad would be in there,” he said.

“So police are working through the Lindt cafe to at least make it safe for investigators to go through.

“We’ve seen a robot – what looks like a police robot.

“Police are working very hard to make the crime scene safe so the investigation can continue.”

Hostages have been taken to a number of hospitals in the city.

Shortly after Monis locked the hostages inside the cafe, some were seen with their hands up while others were made to hold a black flag with Arabic writing against a window.

Heavily armed police officers took up positions in the pedestrian area, which was cleared for several blocks.

Several hours later, at about 4:00pm, two men ran from a front door of the cafe while a man wearing a Lindt apron came out of a side door.

About an hour later two women who worked at the cafe ran from the building.

Martin Place Cafe Siege: Man Haron Monis named as gunman

Sydney siege gunman identified

THE man who held several people hostage in a Sydney cafe for over 18 hours is a self-styled ‘sheik’ with a long history of run-ins with law enforcement.

Man Haron Monis, 50, is believed to have been killed when police stormed the Lindt cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place in a hail of gunfire shortly after 2am this morning.

Pic of Sheikh "man Monis" Haron charged with writing offensive letters to widows and fami

Sheik Man Monis Haron charged with writing offensive letters to widows and families of fallen Aussie soldiers outside Downing Court today. Source: News Limited

Monis, also known as Sheikh Haron and Mohammad Hassan Manteghi, was on bail on a charge of accessory to murder, relating to the death of his ex-wife, who was allegedly stabbed and set alight in a stairwell of her Sydney apartment complex last year.

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Monis’s current partner has been charged with murder over the incident.

On granting bail, Magistrate Darryl Pearce saying the Crown’s noted the case against Monis was weak.

In March this year he was charged with more than 50 sexual offences including the 2002 sexual assault of a young woman which was allegedly carried out under the guise of ‘spiritual healing’.

His victim, 27 at the time, allegedly saw an advertisement for ‘spiritual consultation’ in a local newspaper and contacted him.

Man Haron Monis ‘Spiritual healer’ arrested for sexual and indecent assault — SCC Sex Cri

Man Haron Monis ‘Spiritual healer’ arrested for sexual and indecent assault — SCC Sex Crimes Squad Source: Supplied

He told her he was an expert in astrology, numerology, meditation and black magic and advised her to visit his clinic.

Monis arrived in Australia as a refugee from Iran in 1996 and first became known to the public when he was charged with sending offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers who had died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the letters Monis called one Australian Digger ‘the son to a dirty pig, and to a dirty animal’, and urged the Diggers’ families to call on the government to pull troops out of Afghanistan.

In court Monis claimed he was a ‘peace activist’ and that his rights to free speech were being trampled.

Haron Monis was charged for sending hate letters to families of soldiers killed in Afghan

Haron Monis was charged for sending hate letters to families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Here, he is pictured appearing for sentencing at the Downing Centre. Source: News Limited

It’s believed Monis lost a High Court appeal against his conviction just last Friday — an event which may have precipitated his decision to stage the Sydney siege.

Shortly before 9.45am yesterday morning Monis entered the Lindt cafe in the heart of Sydney, armed with a sawn-off shotgun and taking up to 20 hostages, several of whom managed to escape yesterday.

Emergency personnel wheel an injured hostage to an ambulance overnight. (AP Photo/Rob Gri

Emergency personnel wheel an injured hostage to an ambulance overnight. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith) Source: AP

After a prolonged period of silence overnight, several hostages desperately fled the cafe before police stormed in shortly later.

Live images of the ensuing firefight were beamed around the world as one loud blast, possibly from Monis’s shotgun, was heard. It was followed by dozens of shots from automatic weapons and flashes from the tactical officers’ flash grenades.

Armed tactical response officers and emergency workers attend the scene (AP Photo/Rob Gri

Armed tactical response officers and emergency workers attend the scene (AP Photo/Rob Griffith) Source: AP

Several ambulances rushed an unknown number of people to hospital as medical teams performed CPR on people in Martin Place. One police officer was seen with blood rushing from his head.

It’s believed three people, including Monis, have died as a result of the firefight.


A man is holding several people hostage at Martin Place cafe

Staff and customers at the Lindt cafe hold what is believed to be a jihadist flag up agai

Staff and customers hold up what is believed to be a jihadist flag up against the window of the Lindt cafe. Source: Channel 7

  • As many as 30 people being held hostage at Lindt cafe
  • Police say at least one gunman involved
  • Incident not being treated as terrorism yet
  • Motivation of gunman unknown – but police have finally spoken directly with him
  • PM Tony Abbott urges calm: “The whole point of politically motivated violence is to scare people.”

HOSTAGES have emerged from the Lindt Cafe in central Sydney where they have been held by a gunman since just before 10am this morning.

Five people have now left the cafe which has been at the centre of a hostage crisis that has paralysed central Sydney and shocked Australia.

Their escape comes after NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn confirmed hostage negotiators were now speaking directly with the gunman.

“Police negotiators have had contact and will continue to have contact,” she said.

Two female Lindt employees ran from the building just before 5pm. Three other hostages, all men, ran from the cafe earlier this afternoon and are now speaking with police.

It was not immediately clear if any of the hostages were released or if they had escaped.

Hostages inside the café have spoken to media outlets. Two hostages have spoken to Sydney radio station 2GB while Ten News is reporting that they have also spoken to two hostages.

One of the hostages runs towards police from Lindt cafe in the central business district

One of the hostages runs towards police from Lindt cafe in the central business district of Sydney. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

A terrified woman runs from the Lindt Cafe

A terrified woman runs from the Lindt Cafe Source: Supplied

A terrified Lindt employee runs to safety

A terrified Lindt employee runs to safety Source: Supplied

Two of the first hostages to get away came out of the front door while the third came out of a fire door. All had their arms raised in the air.

Dramatic television images showed the terrified hostages running free from the buiding and being shielded by heavily armed police.

One was a man in a white shirt and blue jacket, another wore a white shirt, while the third was clearly the Lindt cafe worker dressed in black.

David Faktor, spokesman for St Vincent’s Hospital, told news.com.au that they have received “one male patient and he is in a satisfactory condition”. Mr Faktor would not comment on anything else in relation to the man’s condition but said “he is fine”.

The hospital is on standby for anything else that might eventuate from the siege.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed media tonight and praised police and security services for their work.

“I’ve received messages of support from a number of international leaders and I thank them for their encouragement on this difficult day. It has been a difficult day, it has tested us

He added that “like Australians in all situations, we have risen to the challenge”.

A hostage is seen outside the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place.

A hostage is seen outside the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place. Source: Getty Images

Two hostages run to safety outside the Lindt Cafe.

Two hostages run to safety outside the Lindt Cafe. Source: Getty Images

Dramatic scenes outside the Lindt Cafe as hostages run free after six hours of being held

Dramatic scenes outside the Lindt Cafe as hostages run free after six hours of being held captive. Source: Getty Images

The five hostages escape followed reports that as many as 50 people being held by a gunman at the popular cafe. However, when asked this afternoon about the number of hostages NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said: “That sort of number does not equate to what we are assuming.”

At least one offender took hostages at the popular Lindt chocolate cafe, in Martin Place, just before 10am.

Some members of staff could be seen wearing their shop aprons and standing with their hands up at the windows. There is also a black and white flag being held up in a window. It is believed to be the Black Standard, a flag that has been hijacked by jihadists and Islamists.

Hostages have reportedly called Channel 9 news late this afternoon – the second time media outlets have been called by those inside the cafe.

It’s believed hostages have been forced to call the television network.

This morning at least two calls were made to 2GB host Ray Hadley. He later spoke to the mother of an 18-year-old apprentice plumber who texted his mother from inside the cafe.

When she asked him how he was he replied: “I’m okay Mum, I can’t talk”. She hasn’t heard anything since then.

Deputy Commissioner Burn said police had spoken with the gunman for the first time since the siege began.

Three hostages escape Lindt cafe siege

Her information was that the remaining hostages hadn’t been harmed.

She said the gunman’s motivations were not known and it wouldn’t be helpful to “speculate”.

The incident has not been branded a terrorist attack yet, but police have confirmed they have “moved to a footing consistent with a terrorism event” in their response.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione earlier told reporters it remained a hostage situation “but we are ready to escalate if we need to”.

They did not have “direct contact” with the hostage-taker.

“We’re working through that – at this stage we’ve not got extensive communications … We are not dealing directly with him.”

It was not clear what the offender’s motivation was.

Lindt Australia CEO Steve Loane told news.com.au at the scene this morning he believed there are 40 to 50 people inside the cafe, including customers and staff.

Other reports are suggesting there may only be 13 hostages and police have since said they believe there to be fewer than 30 hostages.

Police handcuffed a man 200m from the cafe siege but a police statement has since clarified the arrest was unrelated to the siege.

Jihadist flag at city centre siege

One of the men believed to be holding people hostage: Courtesy: Channel 7 Source: Channel 7

Jihadist flag at city centre siege

Picture: Courtesy of Channel 7. Source: Channel 7

The National Security Committee of Cabinet has met for briefings on the situation this morning.

At a press conference this morning Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the government did not know whether the hostage situation was politically motivated.

“We don’t yet know the motivation of perpetrator, we don’t know whether it’s politically motivated although there are indications it could be,” he said.

“The whole point of politically motivated violence is to scare people… Australia is a peaceful, open and generous society and nothing should ever change that and that’s why I urge all Australians to today to go about their business as usual.”

Mr Abbott urged all Australians to go about their business as usual but if anyone noticed anything unusual they should call the National Security Hotline 1800 123 400.

He said that the ordinary business of government would go on and the Budget update would be released as planned.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said this afternoon: “We are being tested today in Sydney. The police is being tested, the public is being tested, but whatever the test …we will remain a democractic, civil society.

“There could be some disruption obviously, we are asking also to be patient … we will get through this.”

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione confirmed an “armed offender” was involved. Police were doing everything in their power to bring the situation to a “peaceful outcome”.

“We have a number of incidents that people believe are connected to the city events

a lot of people concerned when they see police vehicle drive down their street, (that area is involved). This is not the case.”

He said there were a number of officers on standby and was satisfied with the response so far. “It’s as good as you will get anywhere.”

Major landmarks in Sydney, including the Sydney Opera House, have been evacuated as polic
Police are patrolling landmarks around Sydney in response to the Martin Pl hostage siege.

Police are patrolling landmarks around Sydney in response to the Martin Pl hostage siege. Source: Getty Images

In a statement earlier, Mr Abbott said he had also spoken with NSW Premier Mike Baird and “offered him all possible Commonwealth support and assistance”.

“This is obviously a deeply concerning incident but all Australians should be reassured that our law enforcement and security agencies are well trained and equipped and are responding in a thorough and professional manner,” he said.

Mr Baird said his thoughts and prayers were with those affected.

“I’ve spoken to Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione & have full confidence NSW Police are working effectively to resolve the situation,” Mr Baird said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he had spoken with Mr Abbott this morning and offered him the Opposition’s full support.

“Our thoughts and prayers today are with the innocent people involved … (and) also with their families who are seeing this incredibly distressing situation unfold, along with the rest of Australia.

“Australians can be assured that we are one when it comes to keeping Australians safe.”

Tactical response officers arrive at the scene. Picture: Toby Zerna

Tactical response officers arrive at the scene. Picture: Toby Zerna Source: News Corp Australia

Siege at Martin Place.

Siege at Martin Place. Source: Supplied

Earlier today, Sydney talkback show host Ray Hadley reportedly spoke to one of the hostages inside the cafe off air.

A spokesman for 2GB said Hadly spoke to someone who he believed was a hostage inside the cafe.

The radio presenter called the number more than once and passed the name and details onto the police.

The Sydney Opera House, which was evacuated earlier today, has cancelled tonights performances, while police have urged people to stay away from the central city tonight for their own safety.

International reaction to the crisis has been swift with Canadian PM Stephen Harper tweeting his support and US President Barack Obama being briefed on the situation at the White House.

Lindt Cafe released the following statement on their Facebook page.

“We would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and kind support over the current situation at the Lindt Chocolate Café at Martin Place. We are deeply concerned over this serious incident and our thoughts and prayers are with the staff and customers involved and all their friends and families. The matter is being dealt with by the authorities and we are waiting for any updates from them.”

Also on Facebook were pages supporting the gunman, including one called “Lindt cafe bombers supporters facebook page”. Facebook swiftly removed the page, and urged users to report any offending pages immediately for them to remove.

Police have set up an exclusion zone around the cafe in Martin Place.

BUILDINGS EVACUATED

A Lindt cafe worker who managed to get out of the building told Nine News: “Everyone was sitting down, the door was locked. There was one guy walking around with a hat and a beard.”

Channel 7 reported that a woman told police that she saw a man near the cafe at 9.44am carrying a blue sports bag with what she thought was a gun inside.

The chocolate shop is 30 or 40 metres from the Channel 7 offices so they have cameras trained on the building. Channel 7 was evacuated.

Martin Place is home to several prominent buildings, including NSW Premier Mike Baird’s office, the Reserve Bank of Australia, Westpac Bank and the Commonwealth Bank headquarters as well as the US embassy and the Seven Network. The Supreme Court, Sydney Hospital, State Library of NSW, and NSW parliament were also in lock-down.

The Sydney Opera House was also in lock-down for a short time as authorities enacted a cluster of security measures across the city.

The US Consulate has also been closed.

Seven reporter Chris Reason is currently on the corner of Philip and Hunter St where all five floors of Channel 7 staff were evacuated. He told news.com.au that he is with several hundred people from Seven and surrounding buildings.

He confirmed that police entered Channel 7 at 10am to use their building as a viewing point after the incident first happened at 9.44am.

Sydney siege: Heavily armed police run near Martin Place
Courtesy of Channel 7.

Courtesy of Channel 7. Source: Channel 7

A map of Sydney shows where the Martin Place Lindt Chocolate cafe is located.

A map of Sydney shows where the Martin Place Lindt Chocolate cafe is located. Source: News Corp Australia

At 10.20am the entire building was evacuated and the central hosting duties was transferred to Melbourne to broadcast out of there.

Police have erected a large black shield to cover the corner of the Lindt Store from view.

Mr Reason said: “It’s tense, people are obviously concerned for the people inside. During the initial minutes when the evacuation happened there was, of course, a lot of concern, a lot of anguish from some staff. But nobody resisted, we all followed police orders. Right now, outside the building there is a mix of curiosity and concern and hope that the people inside get out OK.”

Currently there are at least 100 police and tactical units stationed in Martin Place

“I was at a cafe right next to the Lindt Store when I noticed people suddenly running towards the building and looking in. At 9.45 I sort of approached and realised what was happening. At first we thought it was an armed holdup because the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) is next door and there were armoured vehicles outside. When we saw the hostages against the windows holding up the flags it was quickly apparent that this was severely urgent.”

When asked whether he thought why the men may have chosen Martin Place, he said: “It’s hard to tell, as we saw in the terror raids in September, Martin Place would be a target. It might not be iconic Sydney location but it is deeply symbolic, on top of our building (Seven) is the State Government, the treasurer the minister, beside it is the financial heart of Sydney with the reserve bank and right in the centre is the cenotaph and ANZAC memorial so it ticks so many boxes when trying to make a political statement.”

There are State Government agencies in the same building and police have shut down traffic in a wide perimeter surrounding the incident. Surrounding buildings are also in lockdown.

RELATED: Martin Place long identified as potential terrorist target

 

There is no confirmation yet whether this is a terrorist attack.

A police statement confirmed that they were dealing with an armed incident and specialist officers were attempting to make contact those inside a cafe.

“Some nearby offices have been evacuated as a precaution. Anyone else in the area encompassing Hunter, George, Elizabeth and Macquarie streets bordering Martin Place is directed to remain indoors and away from open windows. Anyone in the vicinity but outside that area is free to leave their buildings,” the statement said.

“Police urge members of the public to remain calm and note that an appropriate police presence is in place.

Elsewhere in Australia, security has reportedly been increased at the Gabba ahead of the cricket and the Lindt Cafe in Melbourne has been closed with police patrolling the streets outside.

TRANSPORT IMPACTED

The Martin Place train station is shut and trains and buses around the area are being diverted or stopped, including trains between Bondi Junction and Central. Roads are blocked.

A Transport for Sydney spokeswoman told news.com.au that conditions were still changing and they would follow directions from police.

“This is chilling,” said The Morning Show host Kylie Gillies of the scene as she watched on with host Larry Emdur from the Channel 7 news studios. The duo are now off air.

RELATED: Sydney trains cancelled, buses diverted

Frightening siege at Lindt cafe Martin Place Sydney

Frightening siege at Lindt cafe Martin Place Sydney

Sydney siege: Gunman takes hostages in Lindt cafe

Hundreds of armed police have sealed off Martin Place in Sydney’s central business district

Related Stories

At least one gunman has taken several people hostage at a cafe in the Australian city of Sydney.

Pictures on Australian television show at least three people with their hands up against a window, and a black flag with Arabic writing.

Hundreds of armed police have sealed off Martin Place in Sydney’s central business district.

New South Wales police have asked people to avoid the area.

An Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporter said that gunfire had been heard at the scene, the Lindt chocolate cafe – but this has not been confirmed.

No injuries have been reported from the incident, according to a police spokesperson.

At the scene: Wendy Frew, BBC Australia Editor Online

Martin Place is a public pedestrian thoroughfare through the heart of Sydney, joining its parliamentary, legal and retail districts.

It is full of media, members of the public and the police, with what appear to be anxious colleagues of people trapped inside the building, waiting for news. Several surrounding blocks are cordoned off.

Police are at this stage not giving media briefings at the site, there are dozens of police cards have arrived at the scene – with more continuing to come.

Sydney map

Police have also said that they are dealing with an “incident” at the Sydney Opera House which has been evacuated.

Local media are reporting that a suspicious package was found there on Monday, though it was unclear whether it was connected to the Martin Place incident.

Terror threat

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described the Martin Place incident as “deeply concerning”.

“All Australians should be reassured that our law enforcement and security agencies are well trained and equipped and are responding in a thorough and professional manner,” he said in a statement.

A National Security Committee of Cabinet has been convened for Monday morning, the PM’s office said.

Australia has been facing a growing terror threat in recent months, in part connected to the fight against the Islamic State militant group in Syria and Iraq.

In September, the largest anti-terror raids in Australian history were carried out in Sydney and Brisbane after intelligence emerged that people were planning to carry out random attacks on Australian soil.

Only one person was charged with terror offences.

Anti-terror legislation was passed in October, which critics said was too severe.

Mr Abbott has said the threat meant “the delicate balance between freedom and security may have to shift”.

About 70 Australians are believed to be fighting in the Middle East while another 20 have returned home.

Australia recently introduced tough legislation to combat the threat from returned fighters

The Lindt Cafe is located in a plaza in the heart of the city’s financial and shopping district that is usually packed with shoppers at this time of year.

It is home to the state premier’s office and the headquarters of two of the nation’s largest banks.

The state parliament house is also only a few streets away.


 

The Daily Telegraph

  • 12 hostages thought to be held
  • Public transport shut down between Central and Bondi
  • Channel 7 offices evacuated

A hostage has been forced to hold up an Islamic State flag in the window of a shop in Martin Place that is currently under siege.

It is believed there are 12 hostages in the store and an ISIS flag has been placed in the window.

Martin Place is the main financial area of the Sydney CBD.

The scene of a seige at the Lindt Cafe in Sydney's Martin Place.

The scene of a siege at the Lindt Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

The scene of a seige at the Lindt Cafe in Sydney's Martin Place.

The scene of a siege at the Lindt Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

Twitter image of a seige at the Lindt Cafe in Sydney's Maritin Place.

Hostages hold up an IS flag at Lindt Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

Public transport between Central and Bondi Junction has been stopped.

Buses are diverting away from Elizabeth St and Hunter St.

There are various road closures in place and motorists are advised to stay away from the area.

In September Federal Police made a host of arrests after allegedly uncovering a plot to abduct a random Australian and execute them by beheading in a public place, possibly Martin Place and post the act on social media.

Hostage in the Lindt Cafe in Sydney's Maritin Place.

Hostage in the Lindt Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

Lindt Cafe in Sydney's Maritin Place.

Lindt Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

Just before 10am it is believed an attempted robbery was taking place when the offender then took a number of hostages inside the Lindt Chocolate shop.

The area has been cordoned off and police are urging people to stay away.

Police do not know how many hostages are in the shop or what the offender is armed with.

The Lindt shop is usually very busy with four or five staff at this time.

More to come.

Two arrested as robbery strike force inquiries continue – Strike Force Tuft


Two arrested as inquiries continue into spate of armed robberies across Sydney

The Blue Gum Hotel at Waitara was held up on October 20.

The Blue Gum Hotel at Waitara was held up on October 20.

TWO men arrested yesterday are helping police with their inquiries into a spate of armed robberies across Sydney, including one at the Blue Gum Hotel at Waitara.

Detectives from Strike Force Tuft arrested the two men, aged 33 and 30, after a car was stopped at the intersection of Kurrajong Rd and Glossip St at St Marys.

The men are assisting the detectives with inquiries into armed robberies at a hotel in Rooty Hill on Saturday and a licensed premises in St Marys on Sunday.

Inquiries are also continuing into a series of armed robberies at newsagencies, service stations, liquor stores and hotels across Sydney between August 24 and October 21.

During some of the incidents, two men entered the premises armed with a pistol and demanded cash from employees before fleeing the scene.

The Blue Gum Hotel was held up on Monday, October 20 when two men entered the establishment about 3pm and approached a woman in the poker machine room. The men showed her a handgun and demanded cash.

The pair left with a small amount of money and fled via the bottleshop area in Unwin Rd and were last seen turning left into Clarke Rd.

Detectives have renewed their appeals for anyone with information to come forward.

Call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/


 

Monday, 24 November 2014 08:41:41 PM

Two men are assisting with inquiries into a number of armed robberies across Sydney.

Between Sunday 24 August and Tuesday 21 October 2014, a series of armed robberies was committed upon newsagents, service stations, liquor stores and hotels across Sydney.

During some of the incidents, two men entered the premises armed with a pistol and demanded cash from employees before fleeing the scene.

Officers attached to the Metropolitan Robbery Unit established Strike Force Tuft to investigate the 15 armed robberies and believe they may be linked.

As a result of inquiries by strike force detectives two men, aged 33 and 30, were arrested after a car was stopped at the intersection of Kurrajong Road and Glossop Street a St Marys today (Monday 24 November 2014).

The pair are currently assisting with strike force detectives with inquiries into armed robberies at a hotel in Rooty Hill on 22 November and a licensed premise in St Marys the next day.

Meanwhile, inquiries by strike force detectives into the robberies are continuing.

Further details of the armed robberies include:

a service station at Bankstown on Sunday 24 August 2014,

• a service station at Kellyville on Sunday 24 August 2014,

• a bottle shop at Padstow on Sunday 24 August 2014,

• a newsagency at Smithfield on Thursday 28 August 2014,

• a hotel at Rosehill on Thursday 28 August 2014,

• a club at Eastwood on Saturday 30 August 2014,

• a hotel at Fairfield on Monday 1 September 2014,

• The attempted robbery of a hotel at Allawah on Sunday 7 September 2014,

• a hotel at Ashfield on Sunday 7 September 2014,

• a hotel at Villawood on Thursday 9 September 2014,

• a hotel at Warwick Farm on Monday 13 October 2014,

• a hotel at Merrylands on Wednesday 15 October 2014,

• a hotel at Summer Hill on Saturday 18 October 2014,

• a hotel at Greenfield Park on Monday 20 October 2014,

• a hotel at Waitara on Monday 20 October 2014, and;

• a hotel at Smithfield on Wednesday 22 October, 2014

Detectives are continuing their inquiries and have renewed their appeals for anyone with further information to come forward.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/ Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Rozelle store owner Adeel Khan arrested over blast that killed three people


More to come, the store owner has been arrested in explosion that killed 3.
September 23, 2014 – 9:57AM

Facing three murder charges: Adeel Khan.

Facing three murder charges: Adeel Khan. Photo: Supplied

The owner of a Rozelle convenience store that was destroyed by fire that killed three people has been arrested at his hospital bed.

Adeel Khan is expected to charged with three counts of murder in relation to the blast and subsequent fire earlier this month, polices sources.

Bianka O’Brien, 31, her baby son Jude and their neighbour Chris Noble, 27, all died in the Darling Street fire.


Mon 8 Sep 2014,

The father and husband of two victims of a shop explosion in Sydney last week says he is devastated by the loss of his wife and their 12-month-old son, who “made everyone smile”.

The NSW Police Arson Squad is leading a criminal investigation into the Rozelle blast and fire on Thursday that killed Bianka O’Brien, 31, and her son, Jude, along with 27-year-old Chris Noble.

John O’Brien described his wife of eight years as “an inspiration to all who knew her”, saying she was a wonderful wife and an even better mother.

He said people gravitated towards her because of her “beautiful and warm personality”.

“Bianka and I were together for eight years, married for two, and to say she was the love of my life is an understatement,” he said in a statement.

“I can’t believe how quickly those eight years have flown by but they have definitely been the best years of my life.

“I know I was truly loved by her and the feeling was entirely mutual.”

Jude O'Brien

Photo: Jude O’Brien, 1, “never stopped smiling”, his father John says. (Supplied)

Mr O’Brien said he loved his son Jude with all his heart, describing him as the perfect baby who “never stopped smiling”.

“By far the proudest moment of my life was becoming a father,” he said.

“Jude had just started to walk and was only just discovering the world around him. Everything was exciting to him and he was just a joy to be around. He made everyone smile.”

He said the events of the past few days had been devastating, but he has been overwhelmed by the support from the community.

“Finally, I would like to extend my sympathy to the family of Chris Noble and everyone else who has been affected by this,” he said.

The owner of the convenience store on the Darling Street block, Adeel Khan, remained in intensive care at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Asbestos concerns at blast site

Concerns over asbestos contamination and an exclusion zone around the site the explosion and fire were discussed at a town hall meeting on Sunday.

The area around the blast site has been described by investigators as “very dangerous” and shut off to residents and business owners since Thursday.

Inspector Gary Coffey assured the gathering that authorities were addressing concerns over asbestos and the impact of an exclusion zone around the site.

“We understand the very real need to restore this community in a timely manner so that the healing process can begin,” Inspector Coffey said.

“I can assure you that we are all working very hard every minute of the day to try and achieve this.

“The priorities for the police operation are to assess the asbestos management at the site, reducing the exclusion zone to allow unaffected businesses to re-open and to provide pedestrian access to those businesses and crime scene examination.”

Local business owner Steve Isaac said his electrical store on Darling Street had been closed since Thursday and the exclusion zone set up around the blast site had been having a major impact on his business.

“Because it’s a crime scene and the street is closed off, it’s hard to get deliveries in and out and we’ve had a lot of cancellations,” Mr Isaac said.

“Most of us have had to stay shut.”

Inspector Coffey said a demolition order had been issued for the building next to the convenience store on Darling Street.

An accredited company carried out an asbestos inspection on Friday and told police asbestos had been detected on the ground and immediately around the site.

“An asbestos exclusion zone was put in place at the site, and the clean up commenced (on Saturday), and at the same time a hygienist commenced air monitoring at several locations around the site,” Inspector Coffey said.

“The result we received was that there was no airborne asbestos detected.

“Early this morning asbestos clean up at the site recommenced and we will be conducting further testing today and these results will determine how quickly we can reduce the exclusion footprint so that businesses can re-open.

“The site itself is very dangerous and the conditions are constantly changing, and we’ll keep everyone informed of developments.”

Aussie Terror cell planned to behead member of public


The details are emerging these animals had plans in place to snatch a person off the street in Sydney and drape them in the Islamic State flag and behead them on camera as propaganda to spread around the world no doubt. It goes to say it would not be the only one. The world needs to unite in STOPPING this murderous group using all force necessary

12.05pm 18/09/14 quick update the police will not reveal exactly

They planned to execute by beheading, in a very HIGH PROFILE location in SYDNEY for all to see

Video of police raids this morning as supplied by NSW Police

Hundreds of police mount anti-terror raids in Sydney and Brisbane cell planned to behead member of public

Thu 18 Sep 2014, 10:29am

Court documents are expected to reveal that this morning’s huge anti-terror raids were aimed at a cell which planned to behead a member of the public in Sydney.

The documents are expected to say that the plan involved snatching a random member of the public in Sydney, draping them in an Islamic State flag and beheading them on camera.

One person has been charged and 15 detained after the raids, which involved 800 police officers in Sydney and Brisbane.


Anti-terror operation in Sydney and Brisbane ‘thwarted’ beheading plot

Updated 2 minutes agoThu 18 Sep 2014, 10:46am

Police say a large-scale anti-terrorism raid in Sydney this morning has foiled a plot to “commit violent acts” in Australia, including a plan to behead a member of the public.

More than 800 officers launched the raids as part of Operation Appleby in suburbs across Sydney’s west and north-west, with a further 70 police involved in raids on properties in Brisbane’s south.

Police said 15 people had been detained in Sydney as part of the operation between NSW officers, the Australian Federal Police and ASIO.

Court documents are expected to reveal that the raids were aimed at a cell which planned to behead a member of the public in Sydney.

The documents are expected to say that the plan involved snatching a random member of the public in Sydney, draping them in an Islamic State flag and beheading them on camera.

AFP Acting Commissioner Andrew Colvin said one person has been charged with serious terrorism-related offences and will appear at central Local Court in Sydney later today.

He said the operation commenced earlier this year and had interrupted a terrorist attack in Australia.

“Police believe that this group that we have executed this operation on today had the intention and had started to carry out planning to commit violent acts here in Australia,” he said.

“Those violent acts particularly related to random acts against members of the public.”

Commissioner Colvin said the raids in Brisbane were not “directly linked” to the raids in Sydney, but authorities were looking to see whether there were any links.

He said the Brisbane raids were linked to a similar operation in Queensland last week, when an Islamic bookshop was searched, and two men arrested.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the raids reflected “the reality of the threat we actually face”.

“You know it is of serious concern that right at the heart of our communities we have people who are planning to conduct random attacks,” he said.

“Today we work together to make sure that didn’t happen. We have disrupted that particular attack.

“Our police will continue to work tirelessly to prevent any such attacks but certainly can I stress that right now, is a time for calm.

“We don’t need to whip this up.”

He said cars were also searched in the raids and at least one weapon was seized.

A total of 25 search warrants were executed in the Sydney suburbs of Bancroft, Bellavista, Guildford, Merrylands, Northmen, Wentworthville, Mansfield, Western Castle Hill, Hevesy, Bass Hill and Regents Park.

Similar raids took place in Brisbane with officers conducting searches on properties at Creek Road in Mt Gravatt East, as well as Logan and Underwood.

He said the Brisbane raids were linked to a similar operation in Queensland last week, when an Islamic bookshop was searched, and two men arrested.

The men have been accused of helping to recruit, facilitate and fund people to travel to Syria to engage in hostile activities.

Queensland Police Minister Jack Dempsey has sought to assure people in the state that they were safe.

“Obviously with the lead-in to G20 we’re already at a certain risk level which ensures that Queenslanders are even safer than most other states and territories in Australia,” he said.

Helicopters, loudspeakers involved in Guildford raid

ABC reporter Lucy Carter said part of Bursill Street in Guildford was still blocked off by police, where a home was being raided.

“[Police] are questioning a number of people on the front balcony of a single-storey home,” she said.

“Neighbours say police burst into the house before dawn, shouting through loudspeakers and with a helicopter hovering overhead.

“Right now police are removing items including computers from this Guildford home, and a sniffer dog has also been brought in.

Neighbours said the occupants had only lived in the house for about three weeks.

A resident of Bursill Street, who wished to remain anonymous, has been trying to come to terms with the raids.

“I just find it so wrong for that to be happening here in Australia. How do we get to this stage that people are this out of control?” he said.

“You talk about the money going overseas – earlier this morning I heard $18 million or $20 million going overseas, and we don’t know about it until it’s too late.”

Officers are refusing to give more information at this stage, as the operation is still underway.

They say they will provide updates throughout the morning.

Man claims he was punched by officer in raids

One man who was at one of the raided properties when police arrived claims to have been punched by an officer.

Maywand Osman, who was detained during the raids but not arrested, said: “I opened the door this morning at 4:45am to about four police officers.”

“They asked me to raise my hands. I immediately raised my hands. Four officers then jumped at me and one punched me in the face.

“They threw me to the ground and started hitting me in the head and pulling my hair.

“One officer grabbed me by the hair and said ‘you piece of shit’. While they were beating me I heard one officer say ‘just don’t make him bleed’.

“They then went inside my house to conduct a search. They found nothing in my house and I was not under arrest or in custody at any point in time.”

A statement released by Mr Osman’s solicitor said: “My client was brutally attacked by four police officers this morning without provocation.”

“He sustained injuries to the face and head. He was escorted to hospital by ambulance.”

Commissioner Colvin said he was personally not aware of the claims.

Raids follow terror alert level raise: terrorism expert

Greg Barton, who heads the Global Terrorism Centre at Monash University, said the raids followed the warning issued by ASIO director David Irvine.

On Friday, authorities announced Australia’s terror alert level had been lifted to high, meaning the risk of an attack is likely.

“He said there was considerable amounts of intelligence about plots underway and that’s why he had to raise the terror alert level,” Mr Barton said.

“Of course that begs the question: if they know about plots under the way what are they doing to intercept them? Now we’re finding the answers today.”

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison told the ABC’s AM program that the raids demonstrate the “very real threat that’s there”.

“I think again [the operation] supports why the Government has been so strong in its response to this threat,” he said.

He said the Government was working closely with the Islamic community “more broadly” and that “goodwill exists”.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Radio National this morning that the raids demonstrate Australian authorities are keeping the nation safe.

“Our security is the consequence of continued vigilance and hard work on the part of the security agencies,” he said.

“There is no cause, no reason, for being complacent about security.

“There are people regrettably, some of them in our midst, that don’t have the nation’s best interests at heart.”

Ikebal Patel from Muslims Australia told AM that the Islamic community has been stunned by the raids.

“Details are very sketchy and we don’t even know who the individuals are and from which particular area, or sort of association they are part of,” he said.

“So, it’s all very very sketchy. It’s all moving very fast.”

The ABC understands the raids are linked to a similar operation in Queensland last week, when an Islamic bookshop was searched, and two men arrested.

The men have been accused of helping to recruit, facilitate and fund people to travel to Syria to engage in hostile activities.


 

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