Sydney siege: hostage taker “mentally ill” says expert
An armed assailant was holding an unknown number of hostages inside a central Sydney cafe on Monday, police said, with local television showing some being forced to hold up a black flag with white Arabic writing in the window, Reuters reported.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has warned of militant plans to strike Australian targets, said there were indications the hostage situation at the Lindt Cafe was politically motivated.
However, The Sydney Morning Herald reported in a video that terrorism expert, Professor Adam Dolnik of the University of Wollongong, gave an assessment that by all appearances the assailant appears to be a “mentally ill hostage taker” who lacks the wherewithal to acquire an extremist flag and is not likely to be connected to any terror group.
Details remain unclear with some media outlets reporting that the assailant demanded an ISIS flag and an audience with the Australian Prime Minister. There have also been reports and footage of hostages fleeing to the protection of the police but whether they escaped or were released remains unclear.
Likewise the extent to which this incident is politically motivate or linked to terror groups is not yet known.