Police officers position themselves at a corner near Lindt cafe in Martin Place, where hostages are being held, in central Sydney
Police officers position themselves at a corner near Lindt cafe in Martin Place, where hostages are being held, in central Sydney December 15, 2014. Hostages were being held inside the central Sydney cafe where a black flag with white Arabic writing could be seen in the window, local television showed on Monday, raising fears of an attack linked to Islamic militants. REUTERS/Jason Reed

The Sydney Siege hostage situation inside the Lindt Café is over after more than 16 hours, with two people reportedly killed and a few others were injured. Heavily armed police stormed the chocolate shop in the early hours of Tuesday following the identification of the hostage taker, self-styled sheik Man Haron Monis.

Shortly after 2 am, a man was seen running from the café. He was patted down by the police and led away to safety. Two more men and two women also managed to get away from the premises before the police stormed inside the café and released the other hostages. Gunshots were then heard from the building as the hostage situation came to an end after more than 16 hours.

Unconfirmed report by Sky News claims there have been two people killed and about three others injured in the hostage drama. It is unclear if the fatalities were a result of the gunman’s standoff with the police or were killed earlier. The authorities did not confirm details of the victims, or even the number of hostages taken. It is also unknown if the gunman was one of the casualties or injured.

Man Haron Monis

Earlier, the gunman was identified in the media as Man Haron Monis, a 49- or 50-year-old Iranian refugee who called himself as a Muslim cleric. He was reportedly called Manteghi Bourjerdi before he changed his name to Monis.

According to Sydney Morning Herald, the police first took note of Monis when he sent offensive letters to the families of Australian killed overseas several years ago. He was found guilty of that crime. He charged with several counts of indecent sexual assault following more than 50 allegations, and was charged with being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife Noleen Hayson Pal.

Apparently, his most recent attempt on Friday to have his conviction for penning the threatening letters overturned was what drove him to hold hostages inside the chocolate shop. He was initially believed to be connected with ISIS, but it is understood now that he has no known connection with the extremist rebel group.

Story developing.

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