Timeline of the Sydney cafe siege

Timeline of the Sydney cafe siege
Australian security forces opened fire on Tuesday as they stormed the Sydney cafe where several hostages were being held at gunpoint

SYDNEY - Two hostages and an extremist Iranian-born gunman were killed on Tuesday in a 16-hour siege that ended when police stormed a cafe in central Sydney. Here is a timeline of events:

- 09.45 am Monday (2245 GMT Sunday): 17 hostages are seized at the Lindt chocolate cafe in Sydney's financial heart

- 10.30 am: Hundreds of heavily armed police surround the building and put the area in lockdown

- The hostage-taker, widely identifed as Iranian-born Man Haron Monis, 50, forces those inside to hold an Islamic flag up to a window

- 12.30 pm: Prime Minster Tony Abbott says he has convened a national security meeting to deal with the "disturbing" developments

- 03.46 pm: Three hostages flee after the standoff begins. Another two run out an hour later

- Police reveal they are in contact with Monis. Reports say he is demanding an Islamic State flag and to talk with Abbott

- More than 40 Australian Muslim groups publish a statement condemning the siege

- 02.18 am Tuesday: Police in SWAT-style gear storm the cafe in a volley of explosions and flashes as several more hostages burst out of the eatery

- 02.50 am: The siege is declared over after more than 16 hours. Police say Monis acted alone and that no explosives were found

- 05.44 am: Police confirm the gunman and two hostages -- a 34-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman -- were killed and four other people wounded

- 08.30 am: Abbott says the hostage-taker was known to authorities and had "a long history of violent crime, infatuation with extremism and mental instability"

- A sea of flowers are laid near the scene by stunned office workers and other Sydneysiders in honour of the victims. Flags are ordered to fly at half mast at all Commonwealth and New South Wales state government buildings

All times are approximate.

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