Update: The Daily Mail has a large number of photos.
Police in Sydney stormed the Lindt Café, released the hostages, and killed the terrorist (only one is mentioned). If these early reports are correct and only one hostage has been killed, the Australian police and security services deserve the highest accolades.
The latest updates from The Telegraph (hat tip Fjordman). The times listed are GMT; Sydney time is about nine hours later, in the wee hours of the morning:
|15.12||At least five further hostage have escaped from the Sydney siege. Gunshots were heard. Police appeared to be prepared for them running out.
It is still unclear how many hostages remain in the cafe – but it could now be fewer than five.
|15.15||Gunflight is underway in the Lindt cafe. The second round of gunfire appeared to take police by surprise. There were at least two, possibly three rounds of gunfire. We have halted and will edit our live stream to prevent disturbing images being broadcast. Saffron Howden reports:
Sustained sound of gunfire for more than 10 seconds just now. Alarms are going off.
|15.18||Two paramedics seen entering the Lindt cafe.|
|15.22||Reports that 11 hostages have been rescued – added to the five earlier today. Several of the hostages were carried away on stretchers.|
|15.29||A bomb disposal robot has been sent into the cafe. We are back with the live stream.|
|15.32||A bomb disposal expert in his huge green suit has just come out of the cafe – walking and looking calm rather than running.|
|15.43||Channel Seven reporting two people dead and three injured. Other reports state five people being treated for injuries.
He spoke to a fireman and a policeman.
He’s now just going back in – entering the building again in a calm manner. Police and firemen are milling around on the corner.
|15.49||Police confirm the siege is over|
|15.55||A woman who appears to have been shot in the foot is taken on a stretcher out of the cafe.|
|16.09||Local media is reporting the gunman has been killed and that at least one hostage is dead.
Police have not yet confirmed that.
More details from Reuters, but no mention of the casualties:
(Reuters) – Australian security forces on Tuesday stormed the Sydney cafe where several hostages were being held at gunpoint, in what looked like the dramatic denouement to a standoff that had dragged on for more than 16 hours.
Heavy gunfire and loud bangs rang out shortly after 2 a.m. local time (10a.m. ET on Monday), and moments earlier at least six people believed to have been held captive had managed to flee the scene.
Medics moved in and took away several injured people on stretchers, but it was not clear whether they included the gunman who had been named by a police source only minutes earlier.
He was identified as Man Haron Monis, an Iranian refugee and self-styled sheikh facing multiple charges of sexual assault.
He was also found guilty in 2012 of sending offensive and threatening letters to families of eight Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, as a protest against Australia’s involvement in the conflict, according to local media reports.
During the siege, hostages had been forced to display an Islamic flag, igniting fears of a jihadist attack.
“There’s no operational reason for that name to be held back by us now,” said a police source, who declined to be identified, when asked to confirm reports the hostage taker was Monis.
At least five hostages were released or escaped on Monday, with terrified cafe workers and customers running into the arms of paramilitary police.
A further 15 or so hostages were understood to have been holed up inside the cafe, said Chris Reason, a reporter at Channel Seven, whose office is opposite the cafe.
See the linked article for video.