Update December 15th (10:26 a.m. Eastern): Gunman is identified as an Iranian “refugee”, here.
Update December 15th (4:35 a.m. Eastern): NBC News has the latest: some hostages run from shop, fuzzy image of gunman clearly a Muslim, here.
Update 8 pm Eastern time: Live streaming at the Daily Telegraph, here. 13 hostages and they believe one gunman.
‘Pungentpeppers’ received an alert within the last hour from the Herald Sun:
40-50 hostages are being held by gunmen in Sydney. Based on the flag being displayed, the assumption at the moment is that these are Islamic terrorists.
ARMED men are holding 40 to 50 people hostage at a cafe in Martin Place in Sydney.
There are reports that two gunman have taken hostages, some of which are standing with their hands up at the windows in the popular Lindt chocolate shop, which has two or three entrances. There is also a black and white flag being held up in a window. It is believed to be the Black Standard, a jihadist flag.
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.
Australia, as we have reported on many previous occasions (archive here) has its problems with Muslim immigrants too.