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Five hostages escape from cafe in Sydney, negotiations underway — media

December 15, 2014, 10:49 UTC+3

Police refused to comment on the reports of the assailant demanding a flag of the Islamic State terrorist group

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SYDNEY, December 15. /TASS/. Local media report that five people have managed to escape the Lindt cafe in Australia's Sydney where an unknown assailant is keeping around 20 people hostage.

Police have established contact with the armed man, deputy police commissioner Catherine Burn said Monday. According to her, there is no information on whether anyone is injured.

An unknown armed man has been keeping around 20 people hostage in the Lindt cafe in central Sydney, Australia, since 09.45 local time.

The intentions of the assailant are yet unknown to the police. Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbot said he thinks the reasons behind the assault may be political.

Earlier media reports said an Islamic shahadah flag could be seen in one of the windows. There were also reports of the assailant demanding a flag of the Islamic State terrorist group. Deputy police commissioner Catherine Burn refused to comment the reports, saying she has no right to disclose details of an ongoing operation. Neither did she comment on the reports saying five hostages have escaped from the cafe.

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