On Dec 15, self-proclaimed cleric and “peace activist” Man Haron Monis, 50, laid siege on the Lindt Chocolat cafe at Martin Place, located in Sydney’s Central Business District, holding 17 people hostage for 16 hours.
The siege ended when police and commandos stormed the building. Three people died in the siege, two hostages and Monis himself. Four other people were injured.
Lindt employee Tori Johnson, 34, was one of the hostages killed in the attack, reportedly shot when he tried to wrestle the gun away from Monis and allow the hostages a chance to escape. Another hostage, respected barrister Katrina Dawson, 38, was also fatally shot.
During the 16-hour siege, hostages were made to take turns holding up a black flag with Arabic writing on it, and Monis reportedly tried to make contact with the authorities via the hostages. One hostage was forced to call a local radio station, but the conversation was not aired.
It’s still unclear what exactly happened inside the cafe, but some reports say some hostages managed to flee the building because Monis dozed off.
Shortly after between five and seven hostages fled the building, armed policemen entered the site and rescued the rest of the hostages.
What do we know about Man Haron Monis?
While some reports connected Monis, an Iranian who was given asylum in Australia, with the Islamic State (IS) militant group, that has not been confirmed.
Nevertheless, according to the BBC, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has demanded to know how Monis — who had a history of violent behaviour and mental instability — managed to obtain a gun license, and was not on a watch list.
Monis had been accused of multiple cases of sexual assault, and was also linked to the murder of his ex-wife. He also pleaded guilty to charges of sending hate mail to the families of dead Australian soldiers.