December 15th, 2014
07:39 AM ET

Sydney Gunman Reportedly Demands ISIS Flag as Some Hostages Escape

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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