Sydney terror raid-Omar Al-Kutobi, 24, and Mohammad Kiad, 25, arrested, hunting knife and flag seized


Omar al-Kutobi, a computer science student, and Mohammad Kiad, who moved into the property only last year

Omar al-Kutobi, a computer science student, and Mohammad Kiad, who moved into the property only last year

Friggin wannabe terrorists or facebook heroes by the look of them. Do not be deceived though, this is real and current and can bee happening in your very own street…Obviously they were not very clever pre posting a video leading to their arrest, amateurs really. But that is the way of the lone wolf it seems.

Sydney terror raid: Two men arrested, hunting knife and flag seized

Machete, flag and video found in terror raid
  • Two men arrested at Fairfield home hours before atrocity, say police
  • Machete, large hunting knife and IS flag seized.
  • Video, allegedly featuring one of the men, referred to IS attack
  • Neighbours described their ‘disbelief’ and ‘fear’
  • Premier Mike Baird said details of the plot were ‘beyond disturbing’

THE two men arrested in terror raids yesterday had been living in a small granny flat at the back of a share house in Fairfield, where neighbours today spoke of their disbelief.

Omar Al-Kutobi, 24, and Mohammad Kiad, 25, were arrested at the flat on Riverview Rd, Fairfield about 4pm yesterday by the Joint Counter Terrorism Taskforce after a receiving information that an attack was imminent.

Police allege the pair had armed themselves with a machete and large hunting knife and were due to carry out a terror attack yesterday before police swooped.

Mohammad Kiad was arrested at his Fairfield home yesterday. Pitcutre: Supplied.

Mohammad Kiad. Picture: Supplied. Source: Supplied

Omar al-Kutobi and Mohammad Kiad. Pitcutre: Supplied.

Mohammad Kiad and Omar al-Kutobi. Picture: Supplied. Source: Supplied

Terror suspect Mohammad Kiad. Pitcutre: Supplied.

Omar al-Kutobi, a computer science student, and Mohammad Kiad, who moved into the property only last year. Pitcutre: Supplied. Source: Supplied

THE NEIGHBOUR

Roberto Macatangay has lived in a caravan at the back of the property and said he knew Mr Al-Kutobi, a computer science student, for about three years.

He said Mohammad Kiad moved into the property only last year.

“I’m scared that I’m living with these people, “ Mr Macatangay said. “They seemed to be really nice. They were sarcastic people but I didn’t mind that. We used to joke about religion, about Mohammad and Jesus Christ.”

The granny flat and car on Riverview street in Fairfield. Picture: Supplied

The granny flat and car on Riverview street in Fairfield. Picture: Supplied Source: News Corp Australia

The granny flat in Fairfield where two men hatched a plot to carry out a terror plot. Pic

The granny flat in Fairfield where two men hatched a plot to carry out a terror plot. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

The Fairfield house from the outside. Picture: Google

The Fairfield house from the outside. Picture: Google Source: Supplied

Mr Macatangay said he did not believe Kiad worked full-time, but may have been studying for a forklift licence, and often visited a nearby recreational centre to do weight-lifting.

The 25-year-old has permanent residency in Australia and Al-Kutobi was granted Australian citizenship last year, he said.

 They don’t mingle much
Manueal Abello, tenant in the main house 

On his Facebook site, Kiad listed himself as married but Mr Macatangay said the couple separated last year when he moved in with Al-Kutobi.

Neighbour Roberto Macatangay said he was ‘scared’ living next to two terror suspects. Pic

Neighbour Roberto Macatangay said he was ‘scared’ living next to two terror suspects. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Inside the Fairfield granny flat raided by police yesterday. Two men have been charged wi

Inside the Fairfield granny flat raided by police yesterday. Two men have been charged with plotting a terror attack. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

The facade of the granny flat where the plan was hatched. Picture: Supplied.

The facade of the granny flat where the plan was hatched. Picture: Supplied. Source: News Corp Australia

Mr Macatangay, a pensioner who moved to Australia from Hong Kong three years ago, said he was at home when heavily armed police stormed the property yesterday afternoon.

They carried out a search warrant at the property, sifting through the granny flat and Mohammad’s car, parked in the street, until the early hours of this morning.

“I was totally surprised and really scared because the gun was pointing at me,” Mr Macatangay said.

“I was watching TV in my caravan and suddenly the electrics turned off. I saw the police, they had their faces covered up with helmet and heavy machine gun. I didn’t know what was happening.

“They asked me about the people living there.”

The small, white granny flat remained locked yesterday. A small religious prayer flag could be seen hanging in a back room of the flat, along with study books, clothes and drawers that had been pulled out and left on the floor.

A car belonging to one of the two men charged with plotting a terror attack remains on th

A car belonging to one of the two men charged with plotting a terror attack remains on the street after being searched by police. Source: News Corp Australia

THE TENANT AND THE OWNER

The owner of the property said Kiad and Al-Kutobi rented the two-bedroom granny flat at the back of the property for about $200 a week.

She said she had never been inside as they always kept it locked up.

Manuel Abello, a tenant in the main house, said the pair were nice but very private.

“They don’t mingle much,” he said.

“I never expected this at all. They are quite nice. Very rarely they have guests.” Kiad’s car is still parked out the front of the Fairfield property, with finger printing dust the only tell-tale signs of the police search on Tuesday.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn and Australian Federal Police Deputy Commis

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn and Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan address the media. Picture: AAP Image/Ava Benny-Morrison. Source: AAP

THE LAW

Police raided the men’s home and searched a car and where they work. Both men were charged with undertaking acts in preparation of planning a terrorist act and will face court this morning.

A number of items were seized in the raids including a machete, a hunting knife, a home-made flag representing terrorist organisation IS and a video which depicted a man talking about carrying out an attack.

Fairfield Local Court heard the pair have spoken with a lawyer, but he is unavailable to appear for them in court today.

The pair’s legal aid lawyer didn’t apply for bail on the mens’ behalf and it was formally refused by magistrate Vivien Swain. The men did not appear in court after asking not to be brought up from the cells.

Commonwealth DPP prosecutor Michael Allnut, centre, arriving at Fairfield court today whe

Commonwealth DPP prosecutor Michael Allnut, centre, arriving at Fairfield court today where two men appeared on terror charges. Picture: Ross Schultz Source: News Corp Australia

Commonwealth prosecutor Michael Allnutt told the court the matter should be moved to Central Local Court due to “security issues.”

 We believe the men were potentially going to….kill somebody
Catherine Burn 

Two sheriffs officers today were searching bags and scanning every person who entered the complex ahead of the appearance of the two men.

Magistrate Vivienne Swain adorned the case until tomorrow, when both bail applications are expected to be heard.

A terror plot foiled last year allegedly involved kidnapping a person from Martin Place a

A terror plot foiled last year allegedly involved kidnapping a person from Martin Place and executing them. Picture: Bradley Hunter Source: News Corp Australia

The men will be assisted in their applications by an Arabic interpreter.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said it will be alleged that the two were going to undertake an act of terrorism in Australia as revenge for incidents overseas.

“What we are going to allege is consistent with the IS messaging,” she said.

“We believe that the men were potentially going to harm somebody, maybe even kill somebody, and potentially using one of the items that we identified and recovered yesterday, potentially a knife.”

She added that police will allege the attack was due to be carried out yesterday, with a video shaping to be a key piece of evidence.

Police do not know the nature of the alleged terrorist’s target but urged people to remain vigilant, whether that be police, military or the general public.

“And a really, really important message about that vigilance is that everybody needs to remain alert and no matter what that piece of information is, it is really helpful,” Deputy Commissioner Burn said.

Marcia Mikhael crying while holding a flag inside the Lindt Cafe. Souce: Channel 7.

Marcia Mikhael crying while holding a flag inside the Lindt Cafe. Source: Channel 7. Source: Channel 7

The pair were not known to police, and police say they were only made aware of the planned activity recently.

AFP deputy commissioner Michael Phelan said the threat was acted on as quickly as possible.

Premier Mike Baird said he could not comment on what the accused terrorists were planning, but said it was “beyond disturbing”.

“I was very concerned. You can’t help but be on edge given the events that we have seen last December, the events we’ve seen around the world. This is an ongoing battle, an ongoing fight,” Mr Baird said.

The Premier thanked police for foiling the terror plot.

Police in a previous raid last year spoke of a plot to behead someone in Martin Place. It is understood that alleged plot involved abducting a random Australian, executing them by beheading in a public place, possibly Martin Place in Sydney’s CBD, and filming the act and posting it on social media.

Australian fugitive Khaled Sharrouf who fled Australia to fight with Islamic extremist in

Australian fugitive Khaled Sharrouf who fled Australia to fight with Islamic extremist insurgents in Syria seen with other ISIS extremists. Source: News Corp Australia

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Artist and wife of embassy official Jane Hardy, Vytas Kapociunas allegedly molested child


After months and months of diplomatic bullshit at our expense, this sick pervert is going down.A sleazy “Artist” again, happened to be married to an Aussie diplomat. So what happens, Harm minimisation of course to the image…Fuck that…read on

Husband of Australian diplomat to stand trial on child sex offences

January 15, 2015 – 11:30AM

Courts reporter for The Canberra Times.

Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy.Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy. Photo: Facebook

The husband of a top Australian diplomat accused of molesting a child while overseas has been committed to stand trial.

Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 71, maintained pleas of not guilty to three charges of sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia when he appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday.

The offences are alleged to have occurred overseas, but are before the ACT courts as the charges fall under Commonwealth law.

Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker on Thursday committed him to stand trial in the ACT Supreme Court.

Kapociunas was arrested at Canberra Airport in September last year.

Court documents said the allegation surfaced after the girl told her mother that the artist kept kissing her.

When questioned further, the girl allegedly said he “kisses me on the lips, and here,” pointing at her groin.

The mother reported the conversation to the Australian Federal Police.

Kapociunas, in a police interview, allegedly acknowledged he had had physical contact with the girl that included kissing in greeting and farewelling, piggy-back rides, and blowing raspberries on her belly button.

But he denied abusing the girl.

He was originally charged with one count of child sex and first appeared in court in October.

Two additional charges were laid in December.

The painter and sculptor is married to top Australian diplomat, Jane Hardy, who, in November, ceased her role as Australia’s ambassador to Spain and returned home almost two years into a three-year appointment.

Ms Hardy’s identity and diplomatic position were previously subject to a court suppression order, but that has now been lifted.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have emphasised that “no allegations of inappropriate or illegal behaviour” have been made against Ms Hardy.

Lithuanian-born Kapociunas studied art in South Australian and lived Spain, France and Britain before he wed Ms Hardy in 1982.

He has since accompanied her on diplomatic postings to Malaysia, South Korean, the United States, and Spain .

He work has been exhibited at the Australian embassy in Washington.

On Thursday, Ms Walker continued the defendants bail, but added the condition that he notify the court if he changes address.

The case will appear in the Supreme Court for directions next month.


 

Australian diplomat returned from posting after husband charged over child-sex allegations

January 14, 2015 – 4:31PM

Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy.Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy. Photo: Facebook

One of Australia’s top diplomats has returned early from an overseas posting after her spouse was arrested and charged with child sex offences. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed that Jane Hardy ceased duty as Australia’s ambassador to Spain on November 3, 2014, less than two years into what would normally be a three-year appointment.

A DFAT spokesperson declined to answer Fairfax Media questions about the precise circumstances leading to the ambassador’s return to Australia, only saying Ms Hardy “returned by mutual agreement with the department.”

Charged: Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 71, is accused of child sex offences.

Charged: Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 71, is accused of child sex offences.

However it is a matter of public record that the Australian Federal Police arrested Ms Hardy’s husband, artist Vytas Kapociunas, on September 20, 2014, in relation to an allegation of sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia. 

Mr Kapociunas, now aged 71, appeared before the ACT Magistrates Court in Canberra on October 3 in relation to one charge of sexual intercourse with a child outside of Australia. Two additional charges of sexual intercourse with a child outside of Australia were laid against Mr Kapociunas in December. He has pleaded not guilty to all three charges. 

The sculptor and painter first came to police attention after the girl told her mother that she had a secret to tell her.

“I need to tell you a secret,” the child said, according to court documents. “I think Vytas really likes me, because he keeps kissing me.”

The AFP say the mother questioned her daughter further, and the girl allegedly said: “He kisses me on the lips, and here,” pointing to her groin.

The mother contacted the AFP who opened an investigation and interviewed the girl.

Mr Kapociunas was informed of the allegations on September 17 and was met by AFP officers at Canberra Airport three days later.  He agreed to an interview in which, according to police, he acknowledged he had met the girl three times and had physical contact with her including kissing.  However he denied he had committed any child sex offences, saying he was “unsure” why the girl would say such things. He was then arrested. 

Born in Lithuania in 1943, Mr Kapociunas studied at the South Australian School of Art and spent his early post-graduate years in Spain, France and Britain . He married Ms Hardy in 1982 and accompanied her on diplomatic postings to Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Washington DC and most recently Madrid.  In 2008 his sculpture Passage through Fire was exhibited at the Australian embassy in Washington.

Ms Hardy’s identity and position were subject to a temporary court suppression order, now no longer in force. not anymore

DFAT has emphasised that “no allegations of inappropriate or illegal behaviour” have been made against Ms Hardy who assumed duty as ambassador to Spain in January 2013.

“Ms Hardy performed creditably in her role in Spain and, following her return, has taken up a suitably senior position in Canberra,” a departmental spokesperson said.

DFAT’s organisation chart shows Ms Hardy is now in charge of the department’s arms control and counter-proliferation branch.

Her executive assistant told Fairfax Media she is not currently in Canberra and cannot be contacted.

A new ambassador to Spain has not yet been appointed.

Mr Kapociunas’s solicitor, Chloe Preston, declined to comment. His case is listed for a further procedural hearing in the Magistrates Court on January 15.


 

Artist pleads not guilty to child sex offences allegedly linked to overseas Australian embassy

Date
December 4, 2014

Reporter for The Canberra Times.

An Australian artist has been accused of two more sexual offences against a child connected to an overseas Australian embassy.

Sculptor and painter Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 70, is facing the ACT Magistrates Court, accused of molesting a child overseas.

He was charged on Thursday with two additional offences of sexual intercourse with a minor outside of Australia, meaning he is now charged with three offences.

Kapociunas, represented by lawyer Chloe Preston, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

He first came to police attention when his alleged victim told her mother she had a secret.

“I need to tell you a secret,” the girl allegedly said.

“I think Vytas really likes me, because he keeps kissing me.”

She also allegedly told her mother:

“He kisses me on the lips and here”, pointing to her groin.

Police went to meet Kapociunas at Canberra Airport earlier this year and he agreed to an interview, court documents suggest.

He told police he had no idea why the girl had been saying such things. Kapociunas denied her allegations.

He was arrested and initially charged with a single count of having sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia, which is a Commonwealth offence.

The artist allegedly told police he piggy-backed the girl, blew raspberries on her belly button, and that she kissed him on the lips when saying hello and goodbye.

The case was adjourned by Magistrate Robert Cook until January.


 

Artist Vytas Kapociunas allegedly molested child linked to overseas embassy

October 17, 2014

Christopher Knaus

An Australian artist has been accused of molesting a child connected to an overseas embassy.

Well-known sculptor and painter Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 70, was arrested earlier this year after a young girl at an Australian embassy alleged he sexually assaulted her.

Kapociunas, who is fighting the allegation, first came to police attention after the girl told her mother that she had a secret to tell her.

“I need to tell you a secret,” the girl said, according to court documents. “I think Vytas really likes me, because he keeps kissing me.”

Police say the mother questioned her daughter further, and the girl said:

“He kisses me on the lips, and here”, pointing to her groin.

The offence is alleged to have occurred overseas, but is now being prosecuted in the ACT under Commonwealth law.

The mother called the Australian Federal Police, who began investigating, and went to meet Kapociunas at Canberra Airport last month.

He agreed to an interview and denied the allegations, claiming he had no idea why the girl would say such things.

Police arrested the artist, and he is currently before the ACT Magistrates Court on one charge of sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia, an offence under the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

He appeared before Magistrate Peter Morrison on Friday morning, and pleas of not guilty were entered on his behalf.

The artist told police during an interview that he had piggy-backed the victim and blown raspberries on her belly button, and that she kissed him on the lips when saying hello and goodbye.

But he denied to police that he had committed any child sex offences.

The court heard on Friday the brief of evidence against him was mostly prepared, and the case was adjourned until December. 

Kapociunas is an artist who has worked across Australia and the world, and studied and taught in South Australia.

He has also studied at the University of Canberra, according to his earlier news reports, and has written children’s books.


 

Charlie Hebdo shooting: 12 people killed, 11 injured, in attack on satirical newspaper


A disgusting barbaric and gutless attack on the whole of society. I hope they round up these savages quickly and bring them to justice. Freedom of speech is the very fibre of a free society. WE must never ever fold to the threat of terrorism!If anyone in Australia has a thread of sympathy for the cause of these terrorists. get the hell out of our country now. Watch as they assassinate this policeman point blank.

updated 10th Jan 2015

Charlie Hebdo suspects among three gunmen killed as French police end hostage stand-offs in Paris and Dammartin-en-Goele

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Sat 10 Jan 2015, 1:57pm

French police have killed three gunmen, including two brothers suspected of shooting dead 12 people in an attack at the Paris offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Cherif and Said Kouachi were at the centre of a stand-off at a printing business in an industrial area in Dammartin-en-Goele, around 40 kilometres from an area which was subject to intense police searches on Thursday.

Police stormed the building several hours after a car chase that saw shots fired. A hostage was freed unhurt. It has been reported the gunmen came out firing when police moved in.

In a simultaneous assault, dozens of heavily armed officers stormed a kosher grocery store in eastern Paris where a gunman with links to the same Islamist group as the Kouachi brothers had taken several people hostage.

Explosions were heard shortly before television pictures showed a number of people being freed.

The gunman was shot dead and four hostages were killed. Two officers were injured as police forced their way into the store.

After police brought the sieges to an end, French president Francois Hollande called for unity and vigilance from his countrymen.

“With the prime minister I have further strengthened the means to protect public places. But we must be vigilant. I also call upon unity because as I have expressed before… it is our best weapon,” he said.

“Today in a kosher supermarket it was a terrible act that was committed. The people who committed the acts, these fanatics, have got nothing to do with the Muslim religion.”

Mr Hollande has invited a number of world leaders to a “great gathering” on Sunday, when he has called for “all French men and women to rise”.

Police said the gunman in the grocery store was believed to be connected to the killing of a policewoman at a metro station on Thursday and released mugshots of Amedy Coulibaly, 32, and Hayat Boumeddiene, 26.

Coulibaly knew at least one of the suspects in the Charlie Hebdo massacre, a source told French news agency Agency France-Press.

It is understood police are still searching for Boumeddiene.

The exact number of hostages in the grocery store siege was unclear, but local media reported at least five were held.

A security source said Coulibaly shot two people as soon as he entered the store, and had “one or more bags” of explosives with him but did not detonate them.

He had tried to booby-trap the entrance to the shop “but had not hooked up the explosives”, the source added.

Police cordoned off the area in Port de Vincennes and interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve rushed to the scene.

Reports have surfaced that Coulibaly and Cherif Kouachi were known to each other and were seen together in 2010 while visiting another jihadist, Djamel Beghal, the mastermind of a failed prison break-out plot.

Coulibaly was convicted for his role in the planned break-out and was well-known to anti-terrorist police.

Plan to ‘neutralise’ Charlie Hebdo gunmen

On Wednesday the two Kouchai brothers had stormed the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo armed with Kalashnikov rifles.

They shot dead eight journalists, two police officers, a maintenance man and a visitor to the offices in the worst militant attack on French soil in decades.

The French government then launched a massive manhunt for the suspects, deploying 88,000 soldiers and police.

Mr Cazeneuve confirmed police had cornered the Kouachi brothers in Dammartin-en-Goele.

“An operation is underway which is set to neutralise the perpetrators of the cowardly attack carried out two days ago,” he said in a televised statement.

Helicopters were seen flying over an industrial zone outside the town where around 200 children from a pre-school, primary school and high school were evacuated to the town gymnasium.

Earlier, police had chased a vehicle at high speed along the A2 motorway towards Paris as authorities appeared to be closing in on the two brothers. Parts of the chase were broadcast live on TV as media vehicles followed closely behind police.

Gunshots rang out and police trucks, ambulances and armoured vehicles descended on the area close to Charles de Gaulle airport.

The Paris prosecutor denied French media reports that at least one person had been killed when the shots were fired during the car chase.

The previous night officers had focused their search on the woodland village of Corcy, not far from a service station where police sources said the brothers had been seen in ski masks.

Said and Cherif Kouachi were French-born sons of Algerian-born parents, both in their early 30s, and both were already under police surveillance.

One was jailed for 18 months for trying to travel to Iraq a decade ago to fight as part of an Islamist cell.

Police had described them as being “armed and dangerous”.

US and European sources close to the investigation said on Thursday that Said Kouachi was in Yemen in 2011 for several months training with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the group’s most active affiliates.

A Yemeni official familiar with the matter said the Yemen government was aware of the possibility of a connection between Said Kouachi and AQAP and was looking into any possible links.

US government sources said Said Kouachi and his brother were listed in two US security databases, a highly classified database containing information on 1.2 million possible counter-terrorism suspects, called TIDE, and the much smaller no-fly list maintained by the Terrorist Screening Centre, an interagency unit.

US television network ABC reported that the brothers had been listed in the databases for years.

Dave Joly, a spokesman for the Terrorist Screening Centre, said he could neither confirm nor deny if the Kouachis were listed in counter-terrorism databases.

Reuters/AFP

Keep watching after he drops, they run up to him and bang from less than a metre.

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Updated about 2 hours agoThu 8 Jan 2015, 11:49am

At least 12 people have been killed by gunmen reportedly armed with Kalashnikovs and a rocket-launcher who opened fire in the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

French officials said 11 other people were injured, at least four seriously, in the shooting at the central Paris offices about 11.30am (local time) on Wednesday.

Two police officers and ten journalists are thought to have been killed.

It is understood the gunmen initially burst into number 6 rue Nicolas-Appert in a Paris neighbourhood, where the archives of the Charlie Hebdo are based, shouting “is this Charlie Hebdo?” before realising they had got the wrong address.

The men then moved quickly down the road to number 10 around noon (local time) and fired at reception staff before moving to the second floor where journalists and cartoonists were holding an editorial conference.

“The two men opened fire and coldly killed the people in the conference room, as well as the police officer in charge of protecting [cartoonist] Charb, who did not have time to react,” a police source said.

Only one person survived, by hiding under the table, according to police.

The deputy mayor of Paris, Patrick Klugman, said the killers knew exactly who they were looking for.

“Two shooters enter into the press room and pick the journalists, asked for their names, and shot bullets in their head,” he said.

A manhunt is underway for a total of three masked men who escaped the scene. Their hijacked getaway car was later found abandoned on the outskirts of the city.

A raid by France’s elite anti-terrorist unit was under way late on Wednesday in the north-eastern city of Reims.

A member of the anti-terror unit at the scene of the raid said either the suspects would be able to escape, or “there will be a showdown”.

According to a police source two of the gunmen are brothers from the Paris region. The third man is believed to be from Reims.

A police document identified the men as Said Kouachi, born in 1980, Cherif Kouachi, born in 1982, and Hamyd Mourad, born in 1996.

In a video filmed by journalist Martin Boudot, who was taking refuge on a nearby rooftop, the men can be heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) between rounds of gunfire.

Police said another witness heard the attackers shouting “we have avenged the prophet”.

Another short amateur video broadcast by French television stations showed two hooded men outside the building. One of them sees a wounded policeman lying on the ground and strides over to him to shoot him at point-blank range.

Video: Video of armed gunmen from a distance (ABC News)

In another clip on Television station iTELE, the attackers are heard shouting “We have killed Charlie Hebdo. We have avenged the Prophet Mohammed.”

The pair can then be seen calmly walking over to a black car before driving off.

The gunmen fled towards the eastern Paris suburbs after hijacking a car, police officials said.

It is the worst militant attack on French soil in recent decades.

Charlie Hebdo has been at the centre of repeated controversy around its publication of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed and its offices were firebombed in 2011.

Dozens of police and emergency services were at the site as police secured a wide perimeter around the shooting scene, where a car could be seen riddled with bullet holes.

Police union official Rocco Contento described the scene inside the offices as “carnage”.

French president Francois Hollande rushed to the scene of the attack and the government said it was raising France’s security warning to the highest level.

“This is a terrorist attack, there is no doubt about it,” Mr Hollande said.

“An act of indescribable barbarity has just been committed today in Paris. Measures have been taken to find those responsible, they will be hunted for as long as it takes to catch them and bring them to justice.

“They will be pursued for as long as is necessary in order that they be arrested and put in front of a court and a judge so they can be prosecuted.”

A source close to the investigation said two men “armed with a Kalashnikov and a rocket-launcher” stormed the building and “fire was exchanged with security forces”.

The source said the gunmen hijacked a car and knocked over a pedestrian as they sped away.

A man who lived close to the newspaper’s offices described what he saw from the window.

“I was at home, I heard gunshots. At first I thought it was the Chinese New Year but it wasn’t the date. I looked through the window and I saw police officers playing hide and seek with the criminals and I understood it was a shooting,” he said.

“I saw people hiding in the subway station and I gathered something serious was going on.”

Sources at the newspaper said the deceased included co-founder and cartoonist Jean Cabut, editor-in-chief Stephane ‘Charb’ Charbonnier, deputy chief editor Bernard Maris, and cartoonists Georges Wolinski and Tignous.

“About a half an hour ago two black-hooded men entered the building with Kalashnikovs,” one witness told French iTELE TV News.

“A few minutes later we heard lots of shots,” he said, adding that the men were then seen fleeing the building.

Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) is renowned for courting controversy with satirical attacks on political and religious leaders and has published numerous cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed.

The last tweet on its account mocked Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the militant Islamic State, which has taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

The publication gained notoriety in February 2006 when it reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that had originally appeared in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, causing fury across the Muslim world.

Its offices were fire-bombed in November 2011 when it published a cartoon of Mohammed under the title “Charia Hebdo”.

Despite being taken to court under anti-racism laws, the magazine continued to publish controversial cartoons of the Muslim prophet.

In September 2012 Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of a naked Mohammed as violent protests were taking place in several countries over a low-budget film, titled “Innocence of Muslims”, which was made in the United States and insulted the prophet.

French schools, consulates and cultural centres in 20 Muslim countries were briefly closed along with embassies for fear of retaliatory attacks.

Mr Charbonnier had received death threats and lived under police protection.

‘Possibility of other attacks’

“There is possibility of other attacks and other sites are being secured,” Mr Contento said.

Sirens could be heard across Paris as prime minister Manuel Valls said security was being ramped up at transport hubs, religious sites, media offices and department stores.

Danish media group JP/Politikens Hus, whose newspaper Jyllands-Posten has also published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, has increased its security level.

Jyllands-Posten published the cartoons in 2005, sparking a wave of protests across the Muslim world in which at least 50 died.

“If the perpetrators are still at large, we’re going to track them down, and we’re going to work with the French to do that,” a White House spokesman told MSNBC television.

World leaders were united in condemning the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

British prime minister David Cameron described the attack as “sickening” and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the shooting was not only an attack on French citizens, but on freedoms of press and speech.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said consular officials were in contact with French authorities to confirm no Australians were affected by the attack.

A Department spokesperson said Australians in Paris should remain vigilant and should follow the instructions of the French authorities.

Australians travelling to France are encouraged to monitor the travel advice on the Smart Traveller website.

Local Muslims denounce attackers as ‘barbarians’

France last year reinforced its anti-terrorism laws and was already on alert after calls from Islamist militants to attack its citizens and interests in reprisal for French military strikes on Islamist strongholds in the Middle East and Africa.

The attack, as yet unclaimed, comes amid what a number of commentators have identified as rising xenophobia in Europe, with thousands of protesters in several German cities rallying earlier this week against Muslim immigration.

France’s five-million-strong Muslim population is Europe’s largest.

“I am extremely angry. These are criminals, barbarians. They have sold their soul to hell. This is not freedom. This is not Islam and I hope the French will come out united at the end of this,” said Hassen Chalghoumi, imam of the Drancy mosque in the northern Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis.

Late last year, a man shouting “Allahu Akbar” injured 13 people by ramming a vehicle into a crowd in the eastern city of Dijon.

French officials say several attacks were prevented in recent weeks.

The last major attack in Paris was in the mid-1990s when the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) carried out a spate of attacks, including the bombing of a commuter train in 1995 which killed eight people and injured 150.

However, the Islamic State insurgent group praised Wednesday’s attack saying the raid was revenge for insults against Islam.

“The lions of Islam have avenged our Prophet,” Abu Mussab, a Syrian who fights with the Islamic State, said via an internet connection from Syria.

“These are our lions. It’s the first drops – more will follow,” he said. He added that he and his fellow fighters were happy about the incident.

ABC/Wires


Charlie Hebdo attack: Multiple fatalities in French newspaper shooting

January 08, 2015 2:08PM

THE youngest of three terrorists believed to be responsible for killing at least 12 people in the attack on a French satirical magazine has handed himself in, French police sources have said.

France’s elite anti-terrorism unit is believed to have cornered the terrorists at a property in the north-eastern city of Reims.

Earlier, a member of the unit hinted at a possible bloody outcome saying: “There will be a showdown”, as heavily armed officers surrounded the property following a massive manhunt after the offenders fled Charlie Hebdo newspaper’s Paris headquarters after gunning down 12 people.

Police surround a property in Reims where it is believed they have the terrorists cornere

Police surround a property in Reims which is believed to have been used by the three suspects in the Charlie Hebdo massacre Source: Supplied

The surrounded property is in the Reims suburb known as Croix-Rouge

The surrounded property is an apartment block in the Reims suburb known as Croix-Rouge Source: AFP

Residents wait outside as French police search the Reims apartment block

Residents wait outside as French police search the building for evidence relating to the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack Source: AFP

Police have identified three men, two Parisian brothers, 32 and 34, and another 18-year-old man they believe are responsible for the worst post-war terror attack in France.

Police have named Said Kouachi, Cherif Kouachi, Hamyd Mourad now believed to have fled to the north-eastern city of Reims.

It is understood French police discovered who the attackers were after finding an identity card in an abandoned getaway car.

French police have released new photographs of the wanted brothers: Cherif Kouachi (left)

French police have released new photographs of the wanted brothers: Cherif Kouachi (left) 32 and Said Kouachi, 34. Source: AFP

French magazine Le Point is reporting the two brothers had returned to France from Syria last month, and had ties to an Iraqi network in Paris encouraging young men to join militants in Iraq.

Cherif may have served prison time in 2008 for involvement in an Iraqi jihadist group operating out of France.

Masked gunman run towards a victim of their gun fire outside the French satirical newspap

Masked gunman run towards a victim of their gun fire outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s office, in Paris.  Source: AP

Armed ... Armed gunmen face police officers near the offices of the French satirical news

Violent … armed gunmen face police officers near the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Picture: AFP/Anne Gelbard Source: News Corp Australia

Scene ... two of the gunmen who opened fire at French magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Pi

Scene … two of the gunmen who opened fire at French newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Picture: Live Leak Source Source: News Corp Australia

Armed with Kalashnikovs and a rocket-launcher, two gunmen, claiming to be affiliated with al-Qaeda, stormed the satirical paper’s office about 11.30am on Wednesday (9:30pm AEDT Wednesday) shouting “we have avenged the Prophet” and “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the greatest) as they fired.

MORE: The victims of Charlie Hebdo terror attack

MORE: Newspaper gunmen ‘on the loose’

MORE: What to know about Charlie Hebdo

The gunmen headed to the second floor editorial department where staff were holding their daily meeting and asked people who they were before shooting.

Terrified staff scattered, with some seeking refuge on the roof as the attack went on for five to 10 minutes before the gunmen managed to escape.

After being called out by name and executed in front of colleagues, ten staff members were gunned down and a police officer was also shot dead before the offenders fled in a getaway car where a third man was waiting.

Driving to Porte de Pantin in northeast Paris where they abandoned the first car and hijacked another, the three gunman emerged from their getaway vehicle to casually injure and execute a French policeman.

WARNING: Graphic content – Moments before Paris gunmen shoot victim

WARNING: Graphic content - Moments before Paris gunmen shoot victim

The escape prompted a huge manhunt with 3000 police are scouring the city in search of the terrorists as French President Francois Hollande described the bloodbath as an “undoubtedly terrorist act.”

Police are now conducting France anti-terror raids in the north-eastern city of Reims as part of their search for the terrorists.

‘A REAL SLAUGHTER’: WITNESSES DESCRIBE ATTACK

Rocco Contento, spokesman for the Unite police union, said the attackers exchanged gunfire with

“They opened fire on everyone, it was butchery, a real slaughter,” Mr Conteno has told the daily Libération.

“Some of the people there took refuge up on the roof. The attackers then emerged, and there was a shootout with police.”

Mr Contento added that the Charlie Hebdo offices had increased its security in recent weeks following renewed threats against the paper.

The contentious newspaper has drawn repeated threats for its controversial caricatures and was firebombed in 2011 in response to a satirical cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.

In videos posted from scenes of the attack, the gunmen can be heard yelling “Allahu Akbar” as gunshots fire.

WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO

Witness Corinne Rey told L’Humanite she was forced to let the attackers into the building, and they claimed to be from al-Qaeda.

“I had gone to pick up my daughter from daycare. Arriving at the door of the newspaper building, two hooded and armed men brutally threatened us,” she said.

“They wanted to enter, go up. I typed the code. They shot Wolinski, Cabu … it lasted five minutes … I had taken refuge under a desk … They spoke French perfectly … claiming to be al-Qaeda.”

MANHUNT: Newspaper gunmen ‘on the loose’

CHARM: ‘I’d rather die standing than live on my knees’

Australian journalist Amanda Morrow, who lives near the Charlie Hebdo offices, told News Corp Australia that even two hours after the attack, emergency vehicles were still streaming to the site.

Ms Morrow, who has worked for Radio France International for six years and, incidentally, is due to give birth today, said she was not surprised by the attack.

“If you live anywhere near Charlie Hebdo, which has continually printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, you know that it is always going to be a target,” she said. “Paris is no stranger to these sorts of attacks, there has been a lot of animosity between Jews and Muslims.”

French soldiers patrol the Eiffel Tower in Paris as the capital was placed under the high

French soldiers patrol the Eiffel Tower in Paris as the capital was placed under the highest alert status. Picture: Joel Saget Source: AFP

Investigation ... French police and forensic experts examine the car used by armed gunmen

Investigation … French police and forensic experts examine the car used by armed gunmen who stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo. Picture: AFP/Getty Images Source: AFP

A police car riddled with bullets during the attack.

Damage … a police car riddled with bullets. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Massive manhunt

The gunmen’s escape prompted a massive manhunt with about 3000 police officers scouring the streets of Paris for hours following the attack.

Police are forensically examining the abandoned black Citroen getaway car, which was found in the nearby 19th district in north-eastern Paris.

Liberation is reporting three suspects aged 18, 32, and 34, two of them believed to be brothers, have been arrested.

According to MetroNews, police have identified the men as Said and Cherif K, brothers born in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, and Hamyd M, the 18-year-old, whose nationality is not yet known.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (centre) arrives at the offices of the French satirica

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (centre) arrives at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

A police officer stands next to the bicycle of a police officer who was hit by a car near

A police officer stands next to the bicycle of a police officer who was hit by a car near the shell of a bullet (bottom R) not far from the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Picture: Philippe Dupeyrat Source: AFP

People hug each other outside Charlie Hebdo's office. Picture: Remy de la Mauviniere

People hug each other outside Charlie Hebdo’s office. Picture: Remy de la Mauviniere Source: AP

French far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon reacts outside of the headquarters of Charlie H

French far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon reacts outside of the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo. Picture: Kenzo Tribouillard Source: AFP

A woman cries outside the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo. Picture: Kenzo Tribouillard

A woman cries outside the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo. Picture: Kenzo Tribouillard Source: AFP

Victims

Two police officers and 10 newspaper staff are among at least 12 killed in the attack.

Police said 11 are injured, four critically.

French media have named five of the victims: controversial cartoonist and editor Stephane Charbonnier, known as “Charb”; cartoonists Jean Cabut, Georges Wolinski and Bernard ‘Tignous’ Verlhac; and economist and writer Bernard Maris.

Victims ... Charlie Hebdo staff killed in the attack include (clockwise from top left) ca

Victims … Charlie Hebdo staff killed in the attack include (clockwise from top left) cartoonist Jean Cabut, aka Cabu, cartoonist Tignous, Georges Wolinski and publisher Charb. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Charbonnier, 47, faced constant threats over the controversial publication, and once famously said: “I’d prefer to die standing than live on my knees.”

He appeared in a 2013 Wanted Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam article published by Inspire, the terrorist propaganda magazine published by al-Qaeda.

The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Gerard Biard, was in London at the time of the attack.

“I don’t understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons. A newspaper is not a weapon of war,” he told France Inter.

It has been reported the gunmen asked for the cartoonists by name before killing them.

Thousands of tributes to the cartoonists have appeared online with the hashtag Je Suis Charlie, which means “I am Charlie.”

Killled ... writer Bernard Maris was murdered in the attack. Picture: AFP

Killed … writer Bernard Maris was murdered in the attack. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Staff ... members of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo pictured in 2006, inclu

Staff … members of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo pictured in 2006, including cartoonists Cabu (L), Charb (2nd L), Tignous (4th L) and Honore (5th L) posing in front of the then headquarters of the weekly in Paris. Picture: Joel Saget Source: AFP, a 42-year-old Muslim man has been named as one of the officers killed.

Graphic video shows the officer being killed point-blank on the sidewalk by the terrorists after begging for his life.

What is Charlie Hebdo?

The satirical newspaper gained notoriety in February 2006 when it reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that had originally appeared in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, causing fury across the Muslim world.

Its offices were firebombed in November 2011 when it published a cartoon of Mohammed and under the title Charia Hebdo. No one was injured in that attack.

Previous attack ... this picture shows the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie H

Previous attack … this picture shows the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo when it was firebombed in 2011. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Despite being taken to court under anti-racism laws, the weekly continued to publish controversial cartoons of the Muslim prophet. In September 2012 Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of a naked Mohammed as violent protests were taking place in several countries over a low-budget film, titled Innocence of Muslims, which was made in the United States and insulted the prophet.

French schools, consulates and cultural centres in 20 Muslim countries were briefly closed along with embassies for fear of retaliatory attacks at the time.

Before his death in Wednesday’s shooting, editor Stephane Charbonnier received death threats and lived under police protection.

Charlie Hebdo’s front page on the day of the shooting

The French newspaper has long been the subject of threats and attacks in its 50-year history, particularly for poking fun at the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.

The cover of Wednesday’s paper — the day of the shooting — featured a caricature of Michel Houellebecq, a novelist whose sixth novel, Submission, predicts a future France run by Muslims, in which women no longer wear Western clothes and polygamy is accepted.

On the cover, Mr Houellebecq is depicted as a wizard and smoking a cigarette, saying: “In 2022, I will do Ramadan.”

The last tweet on Charlie Hebdo’s Twitter profile page @Charlie_Hebdo_, sent about an hour before the shootings, included a satirical cartoon of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In it he wishes everyone “good health”.

It has not been confirmed if Charlie Hebdo’s latest cover image or tweet were the cause of the shooting.

Paris raises terror alert

French President Francois Hollande has condemned the attack as an “undoubtedly terrorist act.”

Paris has raised its terror alert level to the highest setting following the attack, with Mr Hollande calling an emergency cabinet meeting.

“France is today in shock, in front of a terrorist attack. This newspaper was threatened several rimes in the past and we need to show we are a united country,” he said.

French President Francois Hollande (C) arrives at the headquarters of the French satirica

French President Francois Hollande (C) arrives at the headquarters of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

“We have to be firm, and we have to be stand strong with the international community in the coming days and weeks. We are at a very difficult moment following several terrorist attacks. “We are threatened because we are a country of freedom. We will punish the attackers. We will look for the people responsible.”

The French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said prosecutors have been asked to take all precautions to protect publications, cultural institutions and public places.

He said that all measures were being taken “to neutralise these three criminals who have committed this barbaric act.”

Thousands rally in Paris for victims

Thousands of people joined rallies in Paris and other French cities on Wednesday evening to pay tribute to the victims of the massacre.

At least 10,000 people gathered in the eastern city of Lyon and another 5000 in Paris not far from the site of the attack that killed 12 people, according to police.

Crowds chanted “liberate d’expression” and held up pens, as a black armband was placed on Lady Liberty at Place de la Republique.

Peaceful rally ... thousands gather in front of the prefecture in Lille, northern France.

Peaceful rally … thousands gather in front of the prefecture in Lille, northern France. Picture: AFP/ Denis Charlet Source: AFP

People holds placards reading ‘I am Charlie’ in a gathering in Toulouse. Picture: AFP/Eri

People holds placards reading ‘I am Charlie’ in a gathering in Toulouse. Picture: AFP/Eric Cabanis Source: AFP

A woman demonstrates in Toulouse for press freedom. Picture: AFP/Eric Cabanis

A woman demonstrates in Toulouse for press freedom. Picture: AFP/Eric Cabanis Source: AFP

Liberty ... a black armband was placed on Lady Liberty at Place de la Republique as demon

Liberty … a black armband was placed on Lady Liberty at Place de la Republique as demonstrators for peace wave the French flag. Picture: AFP/Dominique Faget Source: AFP

World leaders respond

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott condemned Thursday the “barbaric act” in Paris

“Australia stands with the people and the government of France at this difficult time,” Abbott said in a statement.

“The thoughts of all Australians are with the families of those who have lost their lives in this barbaric act. Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of a free society,”

World leaders have condemned Wednesday’s shooting, calling it an attack on press freedom and barbaric.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the murders were “sickening”.

“We stand with the French people in the fight against terror and defending the freedom of the press.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the killings were a “barbaric attack on freedom of speech”.

“My thoughts are with the victims, their families and their colleagues,” he said.

The White House said it condemns the Paris attack in “strongest possible terms.”

“Everybody here at the White House are with the families of those who were killed or injured in this attack,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, speaking on MSNBC.

“Senior officials at the White House have been in close touch with their counterparts in France this morning.”

He said the US was willing to help the French with an investigation.

German chancellor Angela Merkel said the shooting was “also an attack on press and free speech”, while Russian president Vladimir Putin said he “resolutely condemns terrorism.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi condemned the deadly attack highlighted the need to close ranks against militants.

“This terrorist attack (is) condemned by Iraq, which has suffered greatly at the hands of terrorist groups,” Abadi said in a statement. “This confirms that terrorism threatens all the countries of the world, and not Iraq alone.”

Queen Elizabeth also sent a message to Mr Hollande.

“Prince Philip and I send our sincere condolences to the families of those who have been killed and to those who have been injured in the attack in Paris this morning,” she said. “We send our thoughts and prayers to all those who have been affected.”

Pope Francis strongly condemned the “horrible attack” against a French satirical weekly Wednesday that left 12 people dead, his spokesman said.

“The Holy Father expresses the strongest condemnation for the horrible attack that plunged the city of Paris into mourning,” Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said the attack was a “direct assault on democracy, media and freedom of expression.”

Obama Comments on Paris Attack
Story by

Network Writers and wires

News Corp Australia

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


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


 

A good insight, until we get the official reports from the enquiry I will not be posting any more news media…

Sliding door tragedy of the Lindt cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place

 AT 9.44am on Monday, the sliding doors closed at the Lindt cafe. Seventeen hours later, two lives would be lost and an evil sham sheik would have changed our nation forever.

HE orders a skinny flat white.

He is in a hurry, yet there’s time to admire the vaulted ceilings of the former bank chamber.

The four well-dressed ladies around the corner seem so happy. Here’s an old fellow alone at a table. Then, they call his name. “Chris?” Wow. That was quick.

Chris Kenny does not see a middle-aged man with the scruffy beard, a father of four who likes his coffee.

He is sitting at a table, a sawn-off shotgun in a blue bag, chatting with the cafe manager.

Kenny, a senior journalist at The Australian, is walking out the door.

His phone is ringing and his mind is elsewhere. It’s 5AA, a South Australian radio station, for a pre-arranged interview.

Kenny sits at an outside table, a few metres from the automatic doors. He discusses the state Liberal Party’s apparent need for generational change.

As he finishes, three motorcycle police pull up with sirens blaring.

A woman tells officers she has tried to enter through the cafe’s sliding doors. They have been locked shut.

UNIMAGINABLE END FOR A PERFECT LIFE

10 FATEL FAILURES THAT LED TO TRAGEDY

NINE SILENT MINUTES THAT BEG SO MANY QUESTIONS

DUMP HIS BODY AT SEA, MUSLIM LEADERS SAY

BARISTA ELLY CHEN ESCAPED WITH LIFE

Kenny’s interview started at 9.40am. He may have been the last person to walk through the sliding doors of the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place.

He belongs now with David Johnson, the Lindt cafe worker given the day off, and his colleague Bruno, who turns up just before 10am for his shift.

He belongs with us, on the outside, if only just, in the chaos of sirens and roadblocks, where the confusion is captured by a Sydney cabbie blocked in Elizabeth St: “Bastards. Terrorism in Sydney. My god.”

INSIDE the cafe, palms are pressed against glass.

The mood Kenny witnessed has dissolved in the theatrics of a movie scene, starring a villain who delivers bad lines for the next 17 hours.

Eighteen staff and customers have been ordered to put their hands up.

They have been told to lie down. There are screams and sobs. Someone vomits.

The man with the bandana and the shotgun wants to be called “the brother”.

He says he is from the Islamic State. He says he has bombs.

Man Haron Monis is doing what he has done since he arrived in Australia in 1996.

As a proclaimed IS extremist, he is pretending to be something he is not: until recently, before the most unlikely of conversions, he was a Shi’a – not Sunni — Muslim.

He has terrorised before, by words and deeds, though not like this.

He has chosen an unusually nice grouping of people to menace.

John O’Brien, the 82-year-old, is on his annual ritual of a coffee after his eye check-up upstairs. Three lawyers, including Katrina Dawson and her pregnant colleague Julie Taylor are catching up.

Dawson is indulging a daily routine in being here: she had asked along another friend this morning, but she had missed the call.

Among four Westpac people is the Indian father, Viswakanath Ankireddy, who would ring his wife during the crisis and his colleague, Puspendu Ghosh, still abuzz from a recent skydive. Selina Win Pe is with them to discuss IT issues: soon, under threat of a gun, she will be making demands of a prime minister.

The cafe staffers, their fellow prisoners, share a genuine camaraderie that defies many workplaces.

Tori Johnson, 34, is the sort of manager who sticks his tongue out in Christmas Party photos.

He is from a close-knit family: he hopes to one day marry his partner of 14 years, Thomas Zinn.

The staff share qualities with their customers that Monis can not claim.

They laugh in their spare time. They love. They have much to give and stand to be missed.

They belong on the outside. Monis, it subsequently seems, has never belonged.

Monis has a plan.

 Like all his plans it runs short of a logical conclusion. As far as it goes, it succeeds within the first hour or so.

His impact is almost Dystopian. The streets are emptied and barricades rise. Trains are stopped and offices are evacuated.

The Martin Place Christmas tree suddenly soars like a relic from another era.

Elly Chen, normally a smiley 22-year-old, is working only her sixth day at the cafe.

She holds up a black flag with white Arabic text to the window, directly behind the cafe company’s Christmas message.

It is an opening shot in Monis’ message which, like all of Monis’ messages, runs foul of logic.

And there is a lag, almost as if the world is granted time to process events.

For hours, no one is saying what is going on. Monis wants to speak to Prime Minister Tony Abbott. He wants his siege to be announced as an attack by ISIS.

He orders an ISIS flag delivered. He has hostages deliver these messages to news outlets from about noon.

It’s still unclear how soon dialogue is established with police negotiators.

John O’Brien was one of the first to escape. Picture: Toby Zerna

John O’Brien was one of the first to escape. Picture: Toby Zerna Source: News Corp Australia

O’BRIEN has a headache when he spots his chance.

It’s maybe five hours since he would have left of his own accord, perhaps for a hit of his beloved tennis.

He, along with lawyer Stefan Balafoutis, has been allowed to go to the toilet.

They spot a green button at the bottom of a glass door and wonder if the button will open the door. They discover it does.

The cameras track their first uncertain steps on the street, driven by an overwhelming mix of relief and adrenaline, while TV commentators fumble for the right verb — release or escape?

Chen’s expression captures the same anguish and fear when she spills into the street soon afterwards.

She has followed colleague Paolo Vassallo, and precedes Bae Jie-Un.

Monis is enraged by the escapes. He speaks of “an eye for an eye”. None of his demands have been met.

What would have followed had they been — he promised limited releases of hostages for each — is unclear.

Jarrod Hoffman is one of several hostages ordered to spread Monis’ gospel.

It is probably Hoffman, a 19-year-old student, who rings 2GB’s Ray Hadley.

Hadley reports hearing a Middle-Eastern Australian voice giving instructions in the background.

More calls are later made to the Daily Telegraph and TV stations.

Hoffman explains that he is on speaker and that he has a gun pointed to his head. “If someone else runs, someone dies,” Hoffman explains.

Later in the day, Monis orders hostages to record video messages for media organisations.

They are sinister viewing. The hostages speak of “we”, as if they are willing.

Some look more nervous than others. Taylor is businesslike: “We are here with … ummm our brother, who has asked for three simple things, and the first is that Tony Abbott calls him, live in the media, to have a short conversation. . . we can’t understand why that hasn’t happened.”

Mother-of-three Marcia Mikhael has been pressed into Facebook postings by early afternoon. Her formalness is unusual in the social media age, but then again, her words read like a poor joke.

Like Taylor, she is a very successful person, a Westpac executive and fitness business owner. Yet no one inside the cafe can argue against Monis, a nobody in the outside world.

Onlookers feel surges of futility.

Yet only the hostages burn with the violation of being manipulated as pawns. Only they can properly express the growing fear reflected in increasingly tense messages.

“Dear friends and family…” Mikhael’s Facebook message reads.

“The man who is keeping us hostage has asked for small and simple requests and none have been met. He is now threatening to start killing us.”

Such communications are unprecedented, at least in Australia.

They are a product of a new age of technology and terror. Media outlets mostly heed police bans and do not publish or broadcast Monis’ messages.

Yet Monis grabs some underground traction. He resorts to YouTube and these video messages are said to spread.

The hostages’ families, meanwhile, are fretting.

“Please do not share or spread any messages released by the hostages as the terrorist is using them as a means of communication,” writes Mikhael’s niece. “This could put my aunty and the others in grave danger.”

Another hostage, Fiona Ma, uses Facebook as a source of hope. She has been posting and reading messages throughout the day, prompting this latter message: “I’m getting your messages everyone! Thank-you you beautiful souls…Guys I love each and everyone of you.”

OVER 17 hours, Monis does not get what he wants.

Instead, he muddles and confounds.

In doing so, like in his past, he inspires others to rise above his “antics” — as one acquaintance puts it — and seek to overcome the hurt he inflicts.

The hostages have a world’s prayers. It isn’t enough, not on this battleground, not even with hundreds of heavily armed cops just metres away. Monis has an unfair advantage. He has unpredictability — and his gun.

His skittishness grows later in the day. He paces and herds the hostages from one end to the other — this followed rotations when hostages held their hands on the windows.

He shouts and uses Louisa Hope, an MS sufferer with a walking stick as a “shield”. Later, Monis still grips her as he started to tire, despite the protests of her 68-year-old mother, Robyn.

The refusals of her and O’Brien to yield to an armed crazy man’s wishes sound like the makings of folklore.

O’Brien has refused to hold Monis’ flag or lie on the floor for him. Monis, according to a report in The Australian, leaves him alone after this.

It is many hours after O’Brien has gone.

Australia has gone to sleep, knowing the police will wait it out. It is about 2am, and fear and exhaustion are major factors.

The next 15 minutes stand to be forensically analysed in months ahead. For now, we must rely on witness accounts and unofficial sources.

We know that a plot has been hatched after Monis says “it will be in the morning”.

Comic book fan Joel Herat, 21, is a ringleader. A group of hostages figure that death will follow inaction.

A single shot rings out at 2.04am. It is said that the bullet slams into a door or the ceiling. Is it a warning shot aimed at dissuading those hostages who soon appear, arms raised, in the street? Herat shepherds a pregnant 30-year-old Taylor before making his own exit.

The hostages have smashed a side-door lock to escape. Ankireddy’s father sees his son’s escape on Indian TV.

Hostages were forced to hold up an Islamic flag at Lindt cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

Hostages were forced to hold up an Islamic flag at Lindt cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place. Source: Supplied

The cafe is darkened. It’s said that Johnson now tackles Monis and tries to grab his gun. It makes sense that Johnson would try to free his fellow hostages.

Such an act sounds true to his nature.

One newspaper report says that Johnson is beaten around the head before being killed with a head shot by Monis’ gun.

This may be the 2.13am shot that is played again and again the next day, the shot that leads a technical support sniper, perched at a Channel 7 window opposite, to say into his microphone: “Hostage down. Window two.”

What follows is officially known as the “emergency action plan”. Police in night goggles break in, setting off what looks and sounds like an indoor fireworks display. Stun grenades echo. Dozens of rounds are fired.

The outburst is timed at 34 seconds. When it ends an alarm rings and there is screaming. Monis is dead.

His shield Louisa Hope is shot in the foot, her mother Robyn in the shoulder.

Katrina Dawson is fatally wounded. Her loss, like Johnson’s, is inexplicable, and the floral memorial for their loss will lend itself to easy comparisons with Princess Diana’s death in 1997. It will seem so right that Johnson loved flowers.

It will seem so wrong that Dawson’s children, aged eight, five and three, wake the next morning to the worst news.

According to Channel 7, Monis greets the rush of officers with a lament: “Look what you’ve made me do.”

AS epitaphs go, Monis’ final words sound about right.

They befit a predator long practised in the role of playing the victim. They also raise questions about Monis’ goals. The only obvious thread in his public history, besides its oddness, lies in his drives. His religious and moral principles hold no coherence. His need for attention, however, is a constant. Publicity for Monis has never been a byproduct so much as an outcome.

In upturning his past in the days after his death, the thoughts of one of his previous victims jump out.

Man Haron Monis and Amirah Droudis.

Man Haron Monis and Amirah Droudis. Source: News Limited

Joan Senger once received a letter from Monis. Her son, Craig, an Australian trade official, had been killed in the 2009 Jakarta terror bombing.

Monis’ words had been hurtful and insulting. Speaking in 2013, Mrs Senger appears to have figured out Monis long before he stopped a city with a gun.

“I just don’t think he thinks like normal people think,” she said.

Unpredictable. Unhinged. Paranoid. These terms are used by those who knew Monis best. He was well-known to others as the sick sod who had linked fallen soldiers and bushfire victims to obscure religious scriptures.

He had been seeking sympathy since he first chained himself to a pole at the NSW Parliament House in 2000, when he demanded his family be brought from Iran and introduced himself as “Ayatollah”.

Those who knew him knew he played at roles. He was the “sham sheikh”.

He was the “peace activist”. Yet his performances served to mask the villain within. Monis tended to be scorned rather than feared, even though his history is potted with extreme violence and misogyny

Martin Place gunman caught on CCTV before siege

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.

LATEST

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.

Abdul Numan Haider shot dead by anti-terrorist officers


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No wonder the authorities are asking for calm after the shooting death of a Abdul Numan Haider. I must say that it may make any other young impressionable people being drawn into the filth that is called ISIS and their so-called goals to THINK AGAIN.

Police have every right to defend themselves and ask questions later. Think about what would have happened if this bloke walking into a doctors, or school, or office? It is NOT ON

Officials name Abdul Numan Haider as man shot dead by anti-terrorist officers

Wed 24 Sep 2014, 2:17p

Senior law enforcement officials have named the 18-year-old man who was shot dead after stabbing two officers from the Joint Counter Terrorism team outside a Melbourne police station last night.

Abdul Numan Haider was the “person of interest” who was expected to attend an interview at the Endeavour Hills Police Station when the incident occurred, senior law enforcement sources confirmed.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay said Haider, who was under investigation and had his passport cancelled, was allegedly seen last week with an Islamic State flag.

“There’s certainly information that he was present at the shopping centre in the last week or so with the flag that appeared to be an ISIS flag,” Chief Commissioner Lay said.

“It’s not an offence but clearly it drew our attention to this person and we had a conversation with this person.”

Haider, whose family are from Afghanistan, had also been associated with the radical Islamic group called Al-Furqan.

It is understood he had recently moved away from the group.

Based in Springvale, in Melbourne’s south-east, associates of Al-Furqan were the targets of terrorism raids by Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police in 2012.

Chief Commissioner Lay said Haider attacked a police officer who tried to shake his hand outside the station, and then stabbed another officer, about 7:40pm (AEST) on Tuesday.

“When our police members have approached this young man, one’s extended his hand to shake his hand and the response has been he’s been stabbed in the arm,” he said.

“The attacker’s then turned on the second police member and stabbed him three or four times in the body and in the head.

“The first wounded member has then shot and killed the young man.”

One of the injured officers is from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the other is a Victoria Police member, they were both rushed to hospital.

Chief Commissioner Lay said both police officers required surgery.

The ABC has been told that Haider had made threats against the Prime Minister, however AFP Acting Commissioner Andrew Colvin said no specific threats were made.

“This is early stages of an investigation … What I will say is and what I can be very confident on is there were no specific threats made,” he said.

Haider’s car is parked at a childcare centre next to the police station and the area is locked down.

Natalie Morales, who works at the childcare centre, said staff were unable to contact parents this morning to tell them the facility was closed, because the contact lists were in the building.

“That can happen anywhere around Australia, unfortunately it happened next door to the childcare I work at,” Ms Morales said.

“Even if it happened during the day, we have a pin code that only the staff and families know, so no-one can access the centre even if we had children in the centre.”

Abbott speaks to family of injured officers

Speaking in Hawaii while en route to a UN Security Council meeting in New York, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the Melbourne incident was “nasty” and showed the threat from extremists was real.

“Obviously, this indicates that there are people in our community who are capable of very extreme acts,” he said.

“It also indicates that the police will be constantly vigilant to protect us against people who would do us harm.”

Mr Abbott said he had spoken to the wives of both police officers involved.

Chief Commissioner Lay said the stab wounds to the police officers were significant and required surgery, but that both officers were in a stable condition this morning.

“Our AFP colleague underwent surgery overnight for some significant injuries, he’s come through that surgery it appears pretty well, he’s in a serious but stable condition,” Chief Commissioner Lay said.

“Our Victorian Police member has had quite a significant stab wound to his arm, I understand he’ll undergo surgery today to repair some ligament and nerve damage.

“So the physical injuries will heal quick enough and obviously we need to think about the psychological stuff and give these people as much support as we possibly can.”

Victorian Premier urges community to unite

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said it was important that the incident did not divide the community.

“Let me make it very, very clear, one of the greatest strengths, one of the greatest assets we have here in Victoria is our harmonious, diverse, multi cultural, multi-faith community,” Dr Napthine said.

“We need to preserve and protect that. We need to enhance and build on that.

“We shouldn’t let a single incident divide that. We need to show each other respect, be tolerant and remain united.”

He said authorities were working together to ensure the safety of the community.

“It is imperative that we do all that we can to reassure all members of the Victorian community that everything is being done to protect our safety and making sure that our community continues to work together as a whole Victorian community,” Dr Napthine said.

Islamic leaders criticise police investigation

Leaders of Melbourne’s Islamic community have criticised police over their investigation into the fatal shooting.

Gaith Krayem from the Islamic Council of Victoria said police were quick to jump to conclusions.

“I was disappointed with the immediate press conference police held last night. It was held three hours after the event, and they drew conclusions immediately,” Mr Krayem said.

“There needs to be a proper process as there always should be when police are involved in a fatality.”

What we do know is that there’s an 18-year-old young man who is dead this morning, there are two police officers in hospital, there is a family who is grieving.

Gaith Krayem

Mr Krayen said the public needed to reserve their judgement until a full and objective investigation has taken place.

“Immediately, individuals such as this unfortunately are given these labels of a radical, or a terrorist, or an extremist,” he said.

“Unfortunately, because of the environment we’re in, as soon as you label somebody like that, people don’t want to then question what occurred.

“We don’t know really what happened when this young man arrived at the police station.

“What we do know is that there’s an 18-year-old young man who is dead this morning, there are two police officers in hospital, there is a family who is grieving.”

Bin Laden Raid Photo’s – Real or Fake? (warning very graphic)


WARNING THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC FOOTAGE THAT MAY DISTURB SOME READERS. YOU NEED TO MAKE AN ADULT CHOICE TO CONTINUE WITH THIS TOPIC

PLEASE BE AWARE OF THIS WARNING

ANOTHER WARNING WILL BE POSTED BEFORE THE IMAGES CAN BE SEEN FURTHER DOWN THE PAGE

Anybody who has not googled something about the death of Osama Bin Laden probably does not know what the internet is. For the rest of us it has been a subject of much discussion and conjecture.

We all have questions, how did he die, did he indeed die, When? Why the sudden secrecy in releasing pictures of his body? What are they hiding. I personally think the longer it goes on without absolute solid evidence that can be examined and tested, even refuted, the less we can believe what we have been told, are told now and into the future.

So What would you do if the photos became available.AS awful as they may be, would you still want to see for yourself?

Having said that I have come across some footage as well as some photos that  I have no way of checking as being authentic.

Many thousands of people have been killed in the war against terrorism, and the odds of people being killed that may look similar in appearance may not be that difficult to comprehend. So even though the photos may be real, are they of the real person as described. Of course they may be fake, doctored, “Photoshopped” being the buzz word.

The first 4 images are snapshots I took from a video that I have seen, and as far as I can discover, their identities have not been revealed. The film was taken allegedly from within the compound where Osama bin Laden had been killed in   Abbottabad in a U.S. operation. The compound is located at 34°10′9″N 73°14′33″E.

The images are very graphic and their bodies are bloodied.

The Last and FINAL image is a black and white photo purporting to be of Osama Bin Laden shot in head with severe facial wounds, and is the most graphic of all. Proven to be fake

The only content further down the page will be the images as described here. Any updates I make will be noted at the top of the post and you will always have to scroll to see the images. Hopefully this will avoid exposing them to readers who do not want to see them. I do welcome discussion via the comments section on this topic.

I cannot stress enough that these pictures may distress some people and if you feel you do not want to view them than please finish reading here.

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LAST CHANCE TO SCROLL BACK UP. THE GRAPHIC IMAGES ARE POSTED JUST BELOW THIS MESSAGE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. NOT  SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN


Photographs acquired by Reuters and taken about an hour after the U.S. assault on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan show three dead men lying in pools of blood, but no weapons.

The photos, taken by a Pakistani security official who entered the compound after the early morning raid on Monday, show two men dressed in traditional Pakistani garb and one in a t-shirt, with blood streaming from their ears, noses and mouths.

The official, who wished to remain anonymous, sold the pictures to Reuters.




Our eagled eyed readers have done the research and we say FAKE

Bin Laden Raid Photo's – Real or Fake? (warning very graphic)


WARNING THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC FOOTAGE THAT MAY DISTURB SOME READERS. YOU NEED TO MAKE AN ADULT CHOICE TO CONTINUE WITH THIS TOPIC

PLEASE BE AWARE OF THIS WARNING

ANOTHER WARNING WILL BE POSTED BEFORE THE IMAGES CAN BE SEEN FURTHER DOWN THE PAGE

Anybody who has not googled something about the death of Osama Bin Laden probably does not know what the internet is. For the rest of us it has been a subject of much discussion and conjecture.

We all have questions, how did he die, did he indeed die, When? Why the sudden secrecy in releasing pictures of his body? What are they hiding. I personally think the longer it goes on without absolute solid evidence that can be examined and tested, even refuted, the less we can believe what we have been told, are told now and into the future.

So What would you do if the photos became available.AS awful as they may be, would you still want to see for yourself?

Having said that I have come across some footage as well as some photos that  I have no way of checking as being authentic.

Many thousands of people have been killed in the war against terrorism, and the odds of people being killed that may look similar in appearance may not be that difficult to comprehend. So even though the photos may be real, are they of the real person as described. Of course they may be fake, doctored, “Photoshopped” being the buzz word.

The first 4 images are snapshots I took from a video that I have seen, and as far as I can discover, their identities have not been revealed. The film was taken allegedly from within the compound where Osama bin Laden had been killed in   Abbottabad in a U.S. operation. The compound is located at 34°10′9″N 73°14′33″E.

The images are very graphic and their bodies are bloodied.

The Last and FINAL image is a black and white photo purporting to be of Osama Bin Laden shot in head with severe facial wounds, and is the most graphic of all. Proven to be fake

The only content further down the page will be the images as described here. Any updates I make will be noted at the top of the post and you will always have to scroll to see the images. Hopefully this will avoid exposing them to readers who do not want to see them. I do welcome discussion via the comments section on this topic.

I cannot stress enough that these pictures may distress some people and if you feel you do not want to view them than please finish reading here.

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LAST CHANCE TO SCROLL BACK UP. THE GRAPHIC IMAGES ARE POSTED JUST BELOW THIS MESSAGE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. NOT  SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN


Photographs acquired by Reuters and taken about an hour after the U.S. assault on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan show three dead men lying in pools of blood, but no weapons.

The photos, taken by a Pakistani security official who entered the compound after the early morning raid on Monday, show two men dressed in traditional Pakistani garb and one in a t-shirt, with blood streaming from their ears, noses and mouths.

The official, who wished to remain anonymous, sold the pictures to Reuters.




Our eagled eyed readers have done the research and we say FAKE

The raid on Osama bin Laden


UPDATE 12.04pm: OSAMA bin Laden was shot above his left eye and the bullet blew away part of his skull, officials say.

US President Barack Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House


The precision kill shot was delivered by a member of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six during a pre-dawn raid on bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan.

Photos of bin Laden’s injuries were transmitted to Washington as proof that the mission was a success.

US President Barack Obama saw the terror chief shot after vision of the raid, captured on a video camera attached to a Navy SEAL’s helmet, was transmitted live to the White House Situation Room via satellite.

Bin Laden was killed during a on his Pakistani compound while using his wife as a human shield against the US Navy SEALS.

The US covert forces that raided the terrorist leader’s fortified secret lair in the Pakistani city of Abbotabad had offered him the chance to surrender but he refused.

During the 40-minute-long firefight one of Bin Laden’s wives was used to protect him from US bullets.

It isn’t clear as yet whether she was acting voluntarily or had been placed in front of her husband against her will.

But her death did not allow bin Laden to escape. The man who had always refused to be taken alive was blasted in in the head by US troops – an ignominious ending for the terrorist chief after one of history’s biggest manhunts.

He was buried at sea within hours of his death.

Five people were killed in the raid, including the al-Qa’ida leader’s son, two of his most trusted aides and his wife. Two of his other wives and four children, as well as other women and children living in the compound, were safely evacuated. No US troops were hurt – although the mission nearly went wrong in the first seconds after touchdown.

One of the two helicopters used to breach the mansion walls suffered a mechanical breakdown and couldn’t fly the soldiers out.

US forces burned the helicopter and had to carry Bin Laden’s body out on foot to the other chopper as Pakistani war jets scrambled to engage the unknown foreign invasion team.

In a White House briefing early this morning, US counterterrorism chief John Brennan said the details of the raid exploded the myth of bin Laden.

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“Here is bin Laden, who has been calling for these attacks, living in this million dollar-plus compound, living in an area (of the house) that is far removed from the front, hiding behind women who were put in front of him as a shield. I think it really just speaks to just has false his narrative has been over the years,” he said.

Pakistani soldiers stand guard on top of a building at Osama bin Laden's hideout after his death.

The FBI’s Most Wanted Terror list declared bin Laden dead and withdrew the US$25 million reward that was on his head.

The FBI site, which calls him “Usama” Bin Laden, had a red “deceased” brand stamped under his headshot.

Mr Brennan, in a detailed White House briefing, said Pakistan was not informed of the raid. The nation is now fielding questions on how bin Laden was able to live “hidden in plain sight” in one their cities.

Mr Brennan said if the US operatives could have taken bin Laden alive, they would have, but the terrorist leader offered resistance.

“The concern was that bin Laden would oppose any capture operation,” said Mr Brennan. “Indeed, he did. There was a firefight, he therefore was killed in that firefight.”

“He was engaged in a firefight with those that entered the area of the house he was in. Whether or not he got off any rounds I quite frankly don’t know.

“Here is bin Laden, who has been calling for these attacks, living in this million dollar-plus compound, living in an area (of the house) that is far removed from the front, hiding behind women who were put in front of him as a shield. I think it really just speaks to just how false his narrative has been over the years.”

Mr Brennan said the US was in discussions with Pakistani officials about how bin Laden could have survived in the compound for five years. But when the US briefed them on the raid they seemed “surprised” that bin Laden was living under their noses, he said.

“People are referring to this as ‘hiding in plain sight’. Clearly this was something that was considered as a possibility,” he said.

“Pakistan’s a large country. We are working right now at (finding out) how he was able to hold out there for so long and whether or not there was any kind of support system within Pakistan that allowed him to stay there.

“We know that the people in the compound there were working on his behalf and that’s how we ultimately found our way to the compound.

“I think it’s inconceivable that Bin Laden did not have a support system in the country that allowed him to remain there for an extended period of time. I’m not going to speculate on what kind of support he might have had on an official basis, inside Pakistan.”

Mr Brennan said watching the raid was nerve-wracking. “It was probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of time in the lives of the people who were assembled here yesterday,” he said.

“The minutes passed like days. The President was very concerned about the security of our personnel.

“The President was relieved once we had our people and those remains off target.”

Asked if there was concern the Pakistanis would scramble their jets, and whether they had been informed of the raid, Mr Brennan said: “We didn’t contact the Pakistanis until after all of our people … were out of Pakistani airspace.

“At the time the Pakistanis were reacting, the instant they knew it was taking place in Abbottabad. Therefore they were scrambling towards their assets. Clearly we were concerned that if the Pakistanis decided to scramble jets or whatever else, they had no idea who was on those (choppers), whether it be the US or somebody else.

“So we were watching making sure that our people and our aircraft were able to get out of Pakistani airspace. Thankfully there was no engagement with their forces.”

He said the Americans inside the compound, understood to be 24 Navy SEALS plus CIA operatives, were able to seize “material”.

“The individuals who carried out this assault planned for all the various contingencies. So when that helicopter was seen to be unable to move, obviously they had to go into plan B. They did it flawlessly, they were able to conduct the operation,” he said.

“But seeing the helicopter in a place and in a condition it wasn’t supposed to be, I think was for me, and other people in the room, was the concern we had that now we’re having to go to a contingency plan.

“Thankfully they were able to carry out the contingency plan as they were the initial plan.” The immobilised chopper was destroyed on site by Navy SEALS.

Mr Brennan did not comment of whether the Washington observers heard gunfire or saw people being shot, nor would he elaborate on the type of “visuals” that were being screened back to the Pentagon in real-time.

He would not reveal what was found but the information would help them continue to try to break the back of al-Qa’ida.

He confirmed the battle of Tora Bora, back in 2001, at the outset of the Afghanistan War, was the last time they had credible information as to there whereabouts of Bin Laden. Other leads came and went over the next 10 years.

Mr Brennan said when Mr Obama approved the raid “he made what I believe was one of the most gutsiest calls of any president in memory”.

Mr Brennan said it came after six months building intelligence about the compound and its residents.

“The President made the decision and the results speak for themselves,” he said.

Mr Brennan said it was a culmination of factors – height, facial recognition, DNA – which gave Mr Obama the confidence to declare it was bin Laden.

Asked whether they would release photos, Mr Brennan said that was still to be determined.

The facts

“We are going to do everything we can to ensure that nobody has any basis to try to deny that we got Osama bin Laden,” he said.

Mr Brennan said: “We’re hoping to bury the rest of al-Qa’ida along with Bin Laden.”

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