The Sydney Opera House has reportedly been evacuated this morning over the discovery of a suspicious package.
Opera House completely evacuated pic.twitter.com/qipd0ihMH8
— Mark Serrels (@Serrels) December 14, 2014
The hostage situation on Martin Place in Sydney, Australia continues to unfold, with latest news footage showing some hostages fleeing from the Lindt Chocolat Cafe, where dozens more could be held hostage.
One witness said two suspects arrived at the Lindt Chocolat Cafe before 10:00 a.m., with one of them holding a blue sports bag.
The pair entered the cafe and shut down the automatic sliding doors. Some hostages were ordered to press their hands against the windows and hold up a flag inscribed with Arabic words, but some reports say the flag is not one used by the Islamic State.
Unconfirmed reports state one of the suspects contacted the police and said he had set up ‘devices all over the city’, and requested to speak to the prime minister live on radio.
News footage by Seven Network, which has a newsroom across the street from the cafe, also showed some hostages being forced to hold up a black flag with Arabic writing on it at the windows of the store.
Police officials with heavy gear were deployed to Martin Place. Occupants of nearby buildings were evacuated. Local authorities have set up an exclusion zone, which includes the Martin Place train station.
Earlier this morning, a 25-year-old man was arrested in the suburb of Beecroft “as part of continuing investigations into the planning of a terrorist attack on Australian soil and the facilitation of travel of Australian citizens to Syria to engage in armed combat,” according to the Australian Federal Police said in a report.
Chopper at evacuated Opera House. http://t.co/zI399wasrc
— Advocacy4Oromia (@Advocacy4Oromia) December 15, 2014