"I could see a hand and what was like half the gun, so I just ran after that and called the cops," said Nathan, an employee at the Lindt cafe in Sydney, Australia where a gunman is holding an unknown number of hostages. He had just arrived to work when the gunman took over, but managed to escape and suspects that about 20 people were still inside.
A gunman holding hostages in a Sydney cafe is said to be demanding an ISIS flag and a phone call with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
The reported demands emerged after five hostages managed to flee the building, leaving an unconfirmed number of people still trapped inside during a standoff that has lasted more than 12 hours so far.
Hours into the siege, the gunman's requests were made through hostages who contacted several media organizations, CNN affiliate Sky News Australia reported.
Police said they were aware of the reports but declined to confirm what demands had been made.
Amid the crisis, hundreds of police officers, some of them armed with sniper rifles, shut down a usually bustling area in Australia's most populous city.
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More than a dozen hostages at cafe: An armed person/people took more than a dozen hostage in the heart of Sydney's business district, displaying a black flag with Arabic script in the window. Police surrounded the cafe for hours, and said it was unclear who the hostage taker was.