#AceNewsServices – AUSTRALIA:Dec.15 – Up to 40 hostages are being held by an unknown individual at a café in central Sydney, Australia. A black jihadist flag was reportedly spotted at the site. Authorities have cleared the airspace over the city center to make way for police helicopters.

Video from FreeNews Australia

Monday, December 15

10:18 GMT:

Australian Twitter users have shown their support for Muslim population by offering to ride with them on buses and trains, or giving them a lift to work to ensure their safety.

The campaign was dubbed #illridewithyou.

“…and the (presumably) Muslim woman sitting next to me on the train silently removes her hijab,”wrote one Twitter user, “I ran after her at the train station. I said ‘put it back on. I’ll walk with you.”

10:14 GMT:

09:57 GMT:

09:55 GMT:

The Australian Muslim Community has issued a statement, saying that it “shares with fellow Sydneysiders their utter shock and horror at the unprecedented scenes emerging from the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place this morning.”

“We reject any attempt to take the innocent life of any human being, or to instill fear and terror into their hearts,” the statement adds.

“Any such despicable act only serves to play into the agendas of those who seek to destroy the goodwill of the people of Australia and to further damage, and ridicule the religion of Islam.”

09:47 GMT:

09:42 GMT:

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione delivered a message to all the hostages kept at the café: “We are doing all we can to set you free.” He added that he doesn’t think there are other locations involved at the moment.

09:41 GMT:

“My call goes out to the state to pray for them [hostages], to pray for their families,” the premier of New South Wales, Mike Baird, told journalists.

09:39 GMT:

“We have the very best negotiators in the world working on this right now,” NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione told journalists. However, he couldn’t confirm whether the five hostages escaped or were released by the gunman.

“I want to praise Sydneysiders for what they’ve done today,” he added, “There’s no need for people to be in and around that area.”

“Our plan and only goal is to get those people out of that building. We have got contact with him [the gunman].”

09:34 GMT:

09:34 GMT:

#hostages, #jihadist, #police