From prayers to rescue: Sydney café siege in 24 pictures

  • Vishakha Saxena, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 16, 2014 08:39 IST

A lone gunman stormed into a Sydney café on Monday and took 17 people hostage. Amid a barrage of gunfire, he was taken down after a 16-hour siege when police stormed the Lindt Chocolat Cafe after they heard a number of gunshots from inside. Police said three people were killed - the gunman and two of the hostages - and four others were wounded.

The siege shocked the entire world, as thousands prayed for the hostage's safety. Initial images showed them standing with their hands pressed up against the window of the Lindt café. (Photo: Reuters/Reuters TV via Seven Network)

The hostages were then seen holding up a flag with Arabic writing inside the café. (Photo: AFP/Channel Seven)

Some experts on Twitter suggested the black flag that had white Arabic script similar to those used by Islamic militants on other continents was 'wrong'. In fact, the gunman demanded that ISIS flag be sent to him. (Photo: Reuters TV via Seven Network)

Hundreds of police officers soon flooded the area. Streets were closed and public was told to stay away from Martin Place. (Photo: AFP)

Martin Place and strategic buildings near the café, including the US consulate, were evacuated. (Photo: AFP)

Adding to the crisis, the nearby Sydney Opera House was also cleared, apparently over a suspicious package. It was not clear if the two incidents were related. (Photo: AFP)

At a press conference in the Parliament House in Canberra, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called for calm, while helicopters hovered over the city and the train network was stopped temporarily due to the crisis situation. (Photo: AP/Xinhua)

Armed police were seen outside the café, attending to hostage situation. (Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The first development came six hours after the hostage crisis began, when three men were seen sprinting out the fire exit of the café, past heavily armed police. (Photo: AFP)

Shortly afterward, two women, one after another, sprinted from the cafe and into the arms of the police. (Photo: Reuters)

Meanwhile, in the grip of panic, just 100m away from the café some people - mostly tourists - decided to take selfies. They faced heavy criticism on social media platforms. (Photo: Twitter)

Disturbing picture at Sydney cafe siege site: People take selfies

On a brighter note, Australians took to Twitter to tackle Islamophobia and help out Muslims fearing a backlash due to the attack by floating #illridewithyou on Twitter. The hashtag was created by @SirTessa who offered to ride public modes of transport with Muslims in religious attire and perhaps who feared backlash following the siege.

Hours into the shooting, the gunman was identified as Man Haron Monis, a self-styled sheikh and an Iranian refugee. On his website he said his children had been "taken away by the Australian government" and that he is not allowed to contact them. Australian TV news channels captured his visuals inside the café. (AFP Photo/Channel Seven)

Here's a file photo of Monis obtained by Reuters. Born in Iran, the 50-year-old was convicted over sending offensive letters to the families of dead soldiers, he was on bail on charges of being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife and for sexual and indecent assault. (Photo: Reuters/ABC via Reuters TV)

As the sun set, a female hostage standing by the front entrance of the café was seen turning the lights off. (Photo: AFP)

Armed tactical response officers decided to enter the building after they heard shots being fired inside. (Photo: AP)

Just before police entered the building, at least six hostages were seen running from the café, one of whom was Ankireddy Vishwakanth, an Indian. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

A flurry of loud bangs erupted as a swarm of heavily armed police stormed the café. Injured hostages, like this one, were carried to ambulances after the firing. (Photo: AP)

Emergency response personnel were also seen giving CPR to at least one of the injured. (Photo: AP)

At least two hostages and the gunman were killed and four others were wounded in the tragedy. (Photo: Reuters)

16 hours into the siege, police confirmed the operation was finally over. Martin Place, however, remained flooded with police officials and emergency responders. (Photo: AP)

Police officers wearing heavily armoured suits and a bomb squad robot were also sent into the café. (Photo: Reuters)

As the siege ended, Sam Tiger (right) and Abdulrahman El-Lawn were seen performing their first prayer of the morning. They prayed to bring comfort upon those affected and for peace. They both made a second prayer for Muslims to make the aftermath a peaceful one. (Photo: AP)

(With agency inputs)

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