Sydney siege photos show dramatic moment five hostages escape from Martin Place cafe

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images

The Sydney hostage crisis passed its 12th hour as police negotiators worked to free the remaining people held at gunpoint in a city-centre cafe.

Hours after five hostages fled the Lindt cafe in Martin Place, police won’t say how many are left in the building or disclose the motives of the gunman after night fell on Sydney. The armed man has forced his captives to display a black flag with Arabic lettering throughout the day.

“We are doing all we can to set you free,” New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said, using a televised evening news conference to address the hostages directly. “We will be looking after your safety as our number one priority.”

The holdup, which triggered a lockdown in the centre of Sydney, comes three months after Australia raised its terrorism alert to the highest level in a decade.

The earliest footage showed some hostages with their palms pressed against the cafe’s window, holding up the black flag. Officers in riot gear and armed with automatic weapons lay siege to the building, which is next to the Reserve Bank of Australia. Offices in the vicinity were locked down and the financial district was left largely empty.

Six hours into the crisis, three hostages ran from the cafe and two more emerged about an hour later. They all took shelter behind a line of police officers in riot gear with automatic weapons. Police have declined to say whether the people escaped or were released.

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty ImagesTwo hostages (L) run for cover behind a policeman (R) during a hostage siege in the central business district of Sydney on December 15, 2014.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesTwo hostages run to safety outside the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesTwo hostages run to safety outside the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
 Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesA hostage runs to safety outside the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
 Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesTwo hostages run to safety outside the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
 Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesA hostage runs to safety outside the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty ImagesPolice gesture as a hostage (unseen) escapes from an emergency exit during a hostage siege in the central business district of Sydney on December 15, 2014.
AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

AP Photo/Rob Griffith)A hostage fleeing from a cafe under siege runs towards an armed tactical response police officer at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty ImagesA hostage runs towards police from a cafe in the central business district of Sydney on Dec. 15, 2014. Five people ran out of a Sydney cafe where a gunman has taken hostages and displayed an Islamic flag against the window, witnesses and police said.
SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty ImagesOne of the hostages runs towards police from a cafe in the central business district of Sydney on December 15, 2014.
AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

AP Photo/Rob Griffith)A hostage runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
AP Photo/Rob Griffith

AP Photo/Rob GriffithA hostage runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

AP Photo/Rob Griffith)A hostage runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
AP Photo/Rob Griffith

AP Photo/Rob GriffithArmed tactical response police personnel stand watch into the evening near a cafe under siege by a gunman at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty ImagesA female hostage stands by the front entrance of the cafe as she turns the lights off in the Sydney central business district on December 15, 2014.
AP Photo/Channel 7 via AP Video

AP Photo/Channel 7 via AP VideoThis image taken from video shows people holding up what appeared to be a black flag with white Arabic writing on it, inside a cafe in Sydney, Australia Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
AP Photo/Channel

AP Photo/Channel This image taken from video shows people holding up hands inside a cafe in Sydney, Australia Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
AFP PHOTO / CHANNEL SEVEN

AFP PHOTO / CHANNEL SEVENThis screengrab taken from Australian Channel Seven shows the suspected gunman inside a cafe in the central business district of Sydney on December 15, 2014. A gunman was holding terrified hostages inside a Sydney cafe December 15 with an Islamic flag displayed at the window, triggering a lockdown in an area home to government and corporate headquarters.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesPolice confer on Philip St near the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesAn armed policeman is seen in Phillip St on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty ImagesPolice walk through Martin Place as spectators look on during a hostage siege in the central business district of Sydney on December 15, 2014.
PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty ImagesArmed police are seen outside a cafe in the central business district of Sydney on Dec. 15, 2014.
PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty ImagesPolice close a street where a cafe is being used to hold hostages in the central business district of Sydney on Dec. 15, 2014.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesFiremen are seen at a barricade on Castlereigh Street on Dec. 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty ImagesPeople look on as events unfold on a street where a cafe is being used to hold hostages in the central business district of Sydney on Dec. 15, 2014.
Joosep Martinson/Getty Images

Joosep Martinson/Getty ImagesCatherine Burn, Deputy Commissioner of the Specialist Operations speaks to the media in relation to the Sydney hostage incident at Sydney Police Centre on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
AP Photo/Xinhua, Xu Haijing

AP Photo/Xinhua, Xu HaijingIn this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks at a press conference in the Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, after a gunman took an unknown number of people hostage in a cafe in Sydney, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty ImagesAn armed policeman is seen outside a cafe in the central business district of Sydney on Dec. 15, 2014.
SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty ImagesArmed police evacuates office staff next to a cafe in the central business district of Sydney on Dec. 15, 2014.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesArmed policeman are seen outside Lindt Cafe on Philip St, Martin Place on Dec. 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty ImagesPeople look on as events unfold on a street where a cafe is being used to hold hostages in the central business district of Sydney on Dec. 15, 2014.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesAn armed policeman is seen on Philip St. running from Martin Place on Dec. 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesLadies rush through Philip St. past armed police at Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on Dec. 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
Don Arnold/Getty Images

Don Arnold/Getty ImagesArmed police patrol the vicinity at Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on Dec. 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
AP Photo/Rob Griffith

AP Photo/Rob GriffithPolice stand at the ready close to a cafe under siege in Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
Don Arnold/Getty Images

Don Arnold/Getty ImagesPolice secure the scene near Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on Dec. 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
Don Arnold/Getty Images

Don Arnold/Getty ImagesPolice secure the scene near Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on Dec. 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images

The Sydney hostage crisis passed its 12th hour as police negotiators worked to free the remaining people held at gunpoint in a city-centre cafe.

Hours after five hostages fled the Lindt cafe in Martin Place, police won’t say how many are left in the building or disclose the motives of the gunman after night fell on Sydney. The armed man has forced his captives to display a black flag with Arabic lettering throughout the day.

“We are doing all we can to set you free,” New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said, using a televised evening news conference to address the hostages directly. “We will be looking after your safety as our number one priority.”

The holdup, which triggered a lockdown in the centre of Sydney, comes three months after Australia raised its terrorism alert to the highest level in a decade.

The earliest footage showed some hostages with their palms pressed against the cafe’s window, holding up the black flag. Officers in riot gear and armed with automatic weapons lay siege to the building, which is next to the Reserve Bank of Australia. Offices in the vicinity were locked down and the financial district was left largely empty.

Six hours into the crisis, three hostages ran from the cafe and two more emerged about an hour later. They all took shelter behind a line of police officers in riot gear with automatic weapons. Police have declined to say whether the people escaped or were released.

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty ImagesTwo hostages (L) run for cover behind a policeman (R) during a hostage siege in the central business district of Sydney on December 15, 2014.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesTwo hostages run to safety outside the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesTwo hostages run to safety outside the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
 Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesA hostage runs to safety outside the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
 Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesTwo hostages run to safety outside the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
 Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesA hostage runs to safety outside the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty ImagesPolice gesture as a hostage (unseen) escapes from an emergency exit during a hostage siege in the central business district of Sydney on December 15, 2014.
AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

AP Photo/Rob Griffith)A hostage fleeing from a cafe under siege runs towards an armed tactical response police officer at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty ImagesA hostage runs towards police from a cafe in the central business district of Sydney on Dec. 15, 2014. Five people ran out of a Sydney cafe where a gunman has taken hostages and displayed an Islamic flag against the window, witnesses and police said.
SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty ImagesOne of the hostages runs towards police from a cafe in the central business district of Sydney on December 15, 2014.
AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

AP Photo/Rob Griffith)A hostage runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
AP Photo/Rob Griffith

AP Photo/Rob GriffithA hostage runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

AP Photo/Rob Griffith)A hostage runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
AP Photo/Rob Griffith

AP Photo/Rob GriffithArmed tactical response police personnel stand watch into the evening near a cafe under siege by a gunman at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty ImagesA female hostage stands by the front entrance of the cafe as she turns the lights off in the Sydney central business district on December 15, 2014.
AP Photo/Channel 7 via AP Video

AP Photo/Channel 7 via AP VideoThis image taken from video shows people holding up what appeared to be a black flag with white Arabic writing on it, inside a cafe in Sydney, Australia Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
AP Photo/Channel

AP Photo/Channel This image taken from video shows people holding up hands inside a cafe in Sydney, Australia Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
AFP PHOTO / CHANNEL SEVEN

AFP PHOTO / CHANNEL SEVENThis screengrab taken from Australian Channel Seven shows the suspected gunman inside a cafe in the central business district of Sydney on December 15, 2014. A gunman was holding terrified hostages inside a Sydney cafe December 15 with an Islamic flag displayed at the window, triggering a lockdown in an area home to government and corporate headquarters.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesPolice confer on Philip St near the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesAn armed policeman is seen in Phillip St on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty ImagesPolice walk through Martin Place as spectators look on during a hostage siege in the central business district of Sydney on December 15, 2014.
PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty ImagesArmed police are seen outside a cafe in the central business district of Sydney on Dec. 15, 2014.
PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty ImagesPolice close a street where a cafe is being used to hold hostages in the central business district of Sydney on Dec. 15, 2014.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesFiremen are seen at a barricade on Castlereigh Street on Dec. 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty ImagesPeople look on as events unfold on a street where a cafe is being used to hold hostages in the central business district of Sydney on Dec. 15, 2014.
Joosep Martinson/Getty Images

Joosep Martinson/Getty ImagesCatherine Burn, Deputy Commissioner of the Specialist Operations speaks to the media in relation to the Sydney hostage incident at Sydney Police Centre on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
AP Photo/Xinhua, Xu Haijing

AP Photo/Xinhua, Xu HaijingIn this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks at a press conference in the Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, after a gunman took an unknown number of people hostage in a cafe in Sydney, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty ImagesAn armed policeman is seen outside a cafe in the central business district of Sydney on Dec. 15, 2014.
SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty ImagesArmed police evacuates office staff next to a cafe in the central business district of Sydney on Dec. 15, 2014.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesArmed policeman are seen outside Lindt Cafe on Philip St, Martin Place on Dec. 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty ImagesPeople look on as events unfold on a street where a cafe is being used to hold hostages in the central business district of Sydney on Dec. 15, 2014.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesAn armed policeman is seen on Philip St. running from Martin Place on Dec. 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesLadies rush through Philip St. past armed police at Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on Dec. 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
Don Arnold/Getty Images

Don Arnold/Getty ImagesArmed police patrol the vicinity at Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on Dec. 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
AP Photo/Rob Griffith

AP Photo/Rob GriffithPolice stand at the ready close to a cafe under siege in Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
Don Arnold/Getty Images

Don Arnold/Getty ImagesPolice secure the scene near Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on Dec. 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
Don Arnold/Getty Images

Don Arnold/Getty ImagesPolice secure the scene near Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on Dec. 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.

Source:: Sydney siege photos show dramatic moment five hostages escape from Martin Place cafe

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