Sydney siege gunman believed to be Muslim cleric

Armed tactical response police personnel stand watch into the evening near a cafe under siege by a gunman at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. As the drama dragged into its 10th hour, police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said negotiators were talking with the gunman. Officials had no information to suggest anyone had been harmed, although a hospital said it was treating a man in satisfactory condition. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

SYDNEY (AP) — A gunman who took a number of people hostage inside a Sydney chocolate cafe at the height of Monday morning rush hour is believed to be a self-styled Muslim cleric out on bail on a string of violent charges.

Local media reported early Tuesday that the gunman is Iranian-born Man Haron Monis. 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.

Five hostages have fled from the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in downtown Sydney, but an unknown number were still being held inside as the crisis dragged into its second day and 16th hour.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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