Gunman takes people hostage in Sydney cafe, shows black flag

Gunman takes people hostage in Sydney cafe, shows black flag
(Image credit: Sky News/Screenshot)

On Monday morning, a gunman entered the Lindt Chocolate Café in downtown Sydney and took an unknown number of patrons and staff hostage. Some of the hostages have been seen holding a black flag with Arabic script — believed to be a Muslim statement of faith — in the window, though officials say they have not yet been in contact with the hostage taker.

"We don't yet know the motivation of the perpetrator — we don't know whether this is politically motivated — although obviously there are some indications that it could be," said Prime Minister Tony Abbott from Canberra, the capital. "The whole point of politically motivated violence is to scare people out of being themselves," he added. "Australia is a peaceful, open, and generous society and nothing should ever change that, and that is why I would urge all Australians today to go about their business as usual."

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