According to Australia’s Channel 7 whose office is located just outside the Lindt cafe on Martin Place, police decided to storm the cafй following an exchange of gunfire.
Other reports said that another hostage had later died in hospital of wounds. At least another four people, including two in serious condition, were hurt during the storm.
According to the local media, the gunman was a 49-year-old Iranian refugee, Haron Monis, also known as self-styled Sheikh Haron. He arrived in Australia in 1996 as a refugee. Last year, he was arrested on charges of complicity to a murder. However, he was later released on bail.
Martin Place is a town square in central Sydney. The Reserve Bank of Australia (Central Bank); the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country’s biggest commercial bank, as well as the General Consulates of the United States and Pakistan are located on Martin Place.
The parliament building of the state of New South Wales stands close the square’s eastern fringe. Martin Place is a pedestrian square crossed by several streets and public transit routes. The square which is crowded with people on ordinary days turned out to be empty on Monday.