Grenades and gunfire gripped Sydney as the tense hostage situation at the Lindt Chocolate cafe ended after 17 long hours.
A 17-hour-long hostage drama in which a lone heavily-armed man of Iranian-origin held 17 people hostage at a cafe in Sydney ended late on Monday with the police storming it, resulting in three deaths.
The police fired stun grenades and shots as they stormed the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney's commercial district after 2:30 am local time Tuesday (9 om IST Monday) and later declared that the siege was over.
Live footage from the scene later showed heavily armed police running toward the Lindt Chocolate Cafe before at least four people were carried away on stretchers.
It all began with the escape for a few hostages (five more had fled earlier). Police stormed the cafe after gunshots were fired from inside.
"The gunshots triggered an emergency action plan, which police implemented immediately in order to save lives,” New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said on Tuesday morning. "As a result of an exchange of gunfire inside those premises, police moved in," he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
The 50-year-old gunman Man Haron Monis and two hostages were killed and four other people were injured, Commissioner Andrew P Scipione of the New South Wales(NSW) police said at a joint news conference with the state Premier Mike Baird at 5.45 am local time.
The gunman was shot and pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital, NSW police said in a statement.
Two hostages -- a 34-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman -- were also pronounced dead after being taken to hospital, it said. A police officer was among the four injured, police said.