|Faces of the victims: Heroic Sydney cafe manager, 34, shot dead as he grabbed terrorist's gun to protect hostages - and the brilliant young barrister and mother of three, 38, who died in hospital after the siege|
Three people reportedly died as the 17-hour Sydney siege came to a dramatic end when commandos stormed the cafe where a gunman held at least 13 people hostage.
SWAT police moved in shortly after six hostages fled the Martin Place Lindt chocolate shop around 2:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, 9News video showed. Heavy gunfire and flashbangs could be seen and heard during the assault.
Iranian Man Monis, 50, is believed to be the lone suspect in the incident, which began around 9:45 a.m. Monday morning, according to reports.
Police dismissed the notion the attack was part of a larger plot, calling it "an isolated incident" and saying Monis had no terror affiliations. No terrorist organizations have come forward to claim responsibility for the incident.
Two men, aged 50 and 34, and a 38-year-old woman were pronounced dead Tuesday morning after being taken to local hospitals, according to a police press release.
Monis is among the people who died in the barrage of bullets that brought the standoff to an end, police said during a Tuesday morning press conference.
Another woman was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
Victims were seen being escorted away from the scene on foot and also wheeled away on stretchers. Footage also showed CPR being performed on at least two people.
A total of 11 people had reportedly escaped by the time authorities decided to bring the standoff to an end. Officials had previously spoke of bringing the ordeal to a peaceful conclusion.
Early reports suggested there could have been as many as 50 people trapped inside the Lindt chocolate shop, but authorities have confirmed 17 people accounted for, including the three deaths.
Several loud bangs were heard as armed officers opened fire on the cafe. More hostages fled as the scene more resembled a war zone than the central business district of Australia's largest city.
Monis infamously threatened explosive devices were planted around Sydney, that claim was proved false by police. Further threats of the cafe being booby trapped with explosives also came up empty, police said.