Sydney police end cafe siege

(AGI) Rome, Dec 15 - Police have stormed a cafe in Sydney,ending a 16-hour siege by a gunman, said to be an Iranianrefugee. The gunman and a hostage were killed during the policeoperation and three people, including a police officer, wereseriously injured. Police said special forces had intervenedwhen the gunman opened fire. There had been fears that this wasa jihadist attack, although it is thought that religion was notthe only motive. Man Haron Monis, 49, is a radical Iraniancleric, well known to the police. He entered the LindtChocolate Cafe at 9:45

(AGI) Rome, Dec 15 - Police have stormed a cafe in Sydney,ending a 16-hour siege by a gunman, said to be an Iranianrefugee. The gunman and a hostage were killed during the policeoperation and three people, including a police officer, wereseriously injured. Police said special forces had intervenedwhen the gunman opened fire. There had been fears that this wasa jihadist attack, although it is thought that religion was notthe only motive. Man Haron Monis, 49, is a radical Iraniancleric, well known to the police. He entered the LindtChocolate Cafe at 9:45 a.m. local time on Monday morning,unfurled an Islamic banner and threatened to set off fourbombs. Six hours later three men and two women managed to maketwo separate escapes. The cafe is in the financial heart of thecity, near the Parliament of New South Wales. Monis arrived inAustralia in 1996, where he assumed his name and styled himselfa cleric. He is a Shia Muslim who converted to Sunni Islam,stating on his website earlier this month: "I used to be aRafidi, but not any more. Now I am a Muslim, Alhamdu Lillah."In other words, he defines himself implicitly and automaticallya Sunni because he believes Sunnism to be the only authenticform of Islam. Monis had carried out a hate campaign againstAustralian soldiers in Afghanistan, sending dozens of offensiveletters to the relatives of soldiers who had died. This earnedhim 300 hours of community service in Sept. 2013. He was alsoaccused of having abused several women while posing as aspiritual healer. In November last year, he and his currentwife were accused of arranging the murder of his formerconsort, Noleen Pal, who was stabbed to death and burned in anapartment block. Last April he was accused of abusing sevenwomen while posing as a healer in Wentworthville, and isawaiting trial in February on charges of sexual violence. Hehas also claimed to be an expert in astrology, numerology,mediation and black magic. . .