Monday, December 15, 2014
The Siege Ends In Sydney - Updated
There was a dramatic end to the hostage situation in Sydney, Australia early this morning at around 2 AM local time as police stormed the Lindt Cafe with stun guns and automatic weapons fire.
There are reportedly two dead, and at least one of whom was the gunman who was holding the staff and the early morning customers of the popular cafe hostage.
The terrorist was identified as Haron Monis, AKA 'Sheik Haron' and he definitely was someone with an interesting history, which we'll get to shortly.
Early this morning, the hostages started emerging from the cafe. Initially one man was seen coming out with his hands up who laid down on the ground in front of the police. Seconds later, a group of of five hostages appeared suddenly after they appeared to have escaped from the cafe.
The police likely decided that there was a possibility that Sheik Haron had started brutalizing or killing a hostage, so they moved in within seconds, and it says a lot about their training and preparedness that they were fully prepared to move at a moment's notice. They blasted open the cafe door opened fire with automatic weapons and hurled stun grenades as they stormed the cafe.
More hostages came out of the cafe afterwards, 11 of whom have been accounted for. I have heard reports that a policeman was also shot, but I haven't been able to confirm that yet.
UPDATE: I have been able to confirm that 3 people died, including the hostage taker. Two hostages, a 34-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman were also killed. The police confirm hearing shots before they stormed the building, and it's likely that the Sheik had decided to start killing some or all of the hostages off. A policeman was shot in the face, but is said to be in good condition.
A bomb disposal robot was sent into the cafe, so the police aren't taking any chances.
Sheik Haron had previously said he had a bomb in the cafe, as well as two others in other parts of Sydney.
So, who was 'Sheik' Haron Monis? He was an Iranian who came to Australia in 1996 as a refugee. He was a self proclaimed expert in astrology, magic and meditation who ran a 'spiritual healing' clinic in West Sydney.
Among his other hobbies, one of them was sending hate mail to the families of Australian soldiers who were killed in action between 2007 and 2009. Instead of being booted out of Australia, he received 300 community service hours and a two year suspended sentence on probation, called a 'good behaviour bond' in Australia.
In November 2013 he was charged as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife, who was stabbed and set on fire on a flight of stairs in her Sydney apartment building.The man's current girlfriend,Amirah Droudis was charged with murder but they both received bail. His wife's name, by the way, was Noleen Hayson Pal. Since that is not a Persian or Islamic name, I think the chances are good that Sheik married a native Australian as a way or working his ticket to get asylum. That also might be something the Australian government might want to keep a closer watch on in the future.
He was also arrested in April this year for the sexual assault of a 27-year-old woman in 2002 at a 'clinic' he ran. Since those charges were filed, a number of other victims have come forth.
You have to wonder what someone like this was doing running around loose in Australia. Even worse, the Sydney police have admitted that Sheik Haron was well known to them.
Another thing to consider is that Sheik Haron had no problem obtaining a weapon at all. That's always how it is..people intent on criminal activity can always get a gun when they need one, no matter how strict the laws are..because laws are not their concern in the least. Australia's strict gun laws have pretty much disarmed most law abiding Ozzies. Had some of the innocent people inside the Lindt Cafe been able to own firearms to protect themselves, this whole situation would likely have turned out much differently.
Most interesting to me was that Sheik, being from Iran was likely (but not conclusively) a Shi'ite. There are Iranian Sunnis, but they are only 9% of the population, mostly Arabs whom live in mountainous Larestan, Kurds in the northwest, and Arabs and Balochs in the southwest and southeast. Assuming Sheik Haron Monis was a Shi'ite, why he would want an Islamic State flag? Did he convert to Sunni Islam? I suppose we'll find out.
UPDATE: According to his Facebook page, Sheik Haron had indeed converted to Sunni Islam.
The one thing we can all be glad of is that Sheik Haron is no longer Australia's problem, the siege is over and that the injury and loss of life were less than they could have been.