Sydney siege: Indian techie among hostagestext_fields
Canberra/ New Delhi: Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu Monday has said there is some information that an Indian techie is among the hostages.
An armed man Monday took several people hostage inside a shop in Sydney's central business district, forcing the government to call an emergency security meeting here.
The hostages were seen standing with their hands up at the windows of the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Martin Place, Sydney. There was also a black and white flag, believed to be a jihadi flag, being held up in a window, Xinhua reported.
Police responded to the siege by blocking off the area, which was crowded with families and children. The local railway station was shut down but flights from the Sydney Airport were unaffected.
Many buildings in the locality, including the Opera House, New South Wales parliamentary executive offices and the state library, were evacuated.
New South Wales Premier Baird said that he has "full confidence the NSW Police are working effectively" to resolve the situation.
Meanwhile, reports say five hostages, including two female workers, Monday escaped to safety from a cafe where over 30 people are being held hostage by gunman in this Australian city.
Five hostages have made it out of the cafe at Martin Place, Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called for calm after a gunman took up to 12 hostages in Sydney's city center.
"New South Wales (NSW) Police and the Australian Federal Police are currently responding to a reported hostage taking incident in Martin Place in Sydney," Abbott said.
"I have spoken with NSW Premier Mike Baird and offered him all possible Commonwealth support and assistance."
"The National Security Committee of the Cabinet has also convened for briefings on the situation," said the prime minister.
"This is obviously a deeply concerning incident, but all Australians should be reassured that our law enforcement and security agencies are well trained and equipped and are responding in a thorough and professional manner," he added.
Abbott also confirmed that the federal government would provide further updates as further information becomes available.