Gunman, 2 Hostages Dead After Sydney Hostage Siege

Sydney police say a gunman and two hostages are dead after officers stormed a downtown cafe, ending a 16-hour siege by an Islamist extremist, NBC News reported. Four others, including a police officer, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were transported to the hospital. "We will get through this," Mike Baird, New South Wales premier, said at a press conference. The police had swarmed the Lindt Chocolat Cafe shortly after five or six hostages were seen running out of the building just after 10 a.m. The suspected gunman identified as Man Haron Monis — who is known as Sheikh Haron — has been on authorities' radar for some time. Haron, who according to Reuters is Iranian born, was charged after sending "harassing" letters to widows of soldiers killed in Afghanistan, calling their partners murderers. He was also charged with being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife who was repeatedly stabbed and set on fire. The assault comes amid a series of recent anti-terrorism raids by police throughout Sydney after an ISIS spokesman gave a speech urging Muslims in Australia to carry out "lone-wolf" attacks against civilians.

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