Sydney is emerging from a dramatic twenty-four hours, during which the central city was put in lockdown and anxious relatives waited for news of loved ones caught up in the hostage crisis.
How the siege unfolded (Australian local times)
- 9.45am - Monday Police called to Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Martin Place and alarm is raised of possible armed siege.
- 10.10am - Images broadcast of people inside the cafe with their arms in the air and hands pressed against the window. Shortly after, two hostages appear at the window holding a flag with white Arabic script.
- 10.30am - Nearby buildings evacuated. Later, Harbour Bridge closed and exclusion zone placed round Sydney Opera House following reports of suspicious package.
- 12.30pm - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott makes televised address and pledges thorough police response.
- 3.30pm - Three hostages released.
- 5pm - Two more hostages released, both women staff members.
- 6pm - Tony Abbott says gunman claimed political motivation.
- 6.30pm - Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn says police conducting sensitive negotiation.
- 9pm - Lights inside the cafe are switched off. Police outside put on night goggles.
- 2.20am - Heavily armed police storm the cafe, several hostages run from cafe. Gunfire is heard, apparently injured people seen being carried from the building.
- 2.45am - NSW police say the siege is over.
- 5am - Reports emerge of fatalities and several injuries.
- 5.48am - Police confirm the deaths of three people: two hostages - a man and a woman in their 30s - and the gunman behind the siege. Four people were injured.