By Kristen Gelineau
Sydney (Australia) (AP) — A swarm of heavily armed police stormed a cafe in the heart of downtown Sydney early Tuesday, ending a siege where a gunman had been holding an unknown number of people hostage for more than 16 hours.
A police spokesman confirmed “the operation is over,” but would not release any further details about the fate of the gunman or any of those who were inside.
After a flurry of loud bangs, police swooped into the Lindt Chocolat Cafe shortly after five or six hostages were seen running from the building.
After the police moved in, one weeping woman was helped out by the officers and at least two other people were wheeled out on stretchers.
The drama unfolded shortly after the gunman was identified by local media as Iranian-born Man Haron Monis, who is facing charges including sexual assault and accessory to murder in separate cases. A police official said “you wouldn’t be wrong” in identifying the 50-year-old Monis as the gunman. Under department rules, officials do not identify themselves unless speaking at a formal news conference.
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