A gunman holding hostages in a Sydney cafe is said to be demanding an ISIS flag and a phone call with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
The reported demands emerged after five hostages managed to flee the building, leaving an unconfirmed number of people still trapped inside during a dramatic standoff that has now lasted more than 10 hours.
The gunman's requests were made through hostages who contacted several media organizations, CNN affiliate Sky News Australia reported. Police said they were aware of the reports but declined to confirm what demands had been made.
Amid the crisis, hundreds of police officers, some of them armed with sniper rifles, shut down a usually bustling area in Australia's most populous city.
"We are doing all we can to set you free," New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said at a news conference Monday evening, directing his comments to the hostages and their loved ones.