Three confirmed dead in Sydney hostage crisis

Sydney: Three people, including the gunman, another man, aged 34, and a woman, aged 38, were confirmed dead while four people were injured after a 16-hour hostage crisis — the first terror attack in Australia — ended early Tuesday with police storming a cafe in the heart of Sydney, authorities said.

Two Indians, who were among the hostages, survived the ordeal.

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New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, speaking at a press conference Tuesday morning, said that 17 hostages were held inside the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Martin Place.

“Two of those hostages were killed. They are a man, aged 34, and a woman, aged 38… the lone gunman was shot dead.”

Six of the hostages escaped uninjured, he added.

“A male police officer was shot in the face, but is expected to recover. The injured hostages were taken to hospital with a range of injuries,” Scipione told reporters.

Police confirmed that the man behind the hostage crisis was Iran-born Man Haron Monis, 50, who had first come to the attention of the police when he penned poisonous letters to the family of dead Australian soldiers seven years ago.

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird spoke with “the heaviest of hearts”.

“The events that we have seen have shaken us, but they do not dampen our resolve,” he said.