- The Washington Times - Monday, December 15, 2014

Australian police monitoring social media say that the gunman holding hostages inside a Sydney cafe is demanding a telephone audience with Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

“That is forming a part of our tactical response in how to handle this,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn, of the social media communications, Newsmax reported.

Ms. Burn also declined to confirm or comment further on the demands — or on another claim made by two female hostages who called authorities to warn the gunman told them that two other bombs were planted at different sites in the city, Network 10 reported.

Mr. Abbott has publicly announced that the hostage situation may be “politically motivated,” but has so far shied from labeling it a terrorist assault. Still, witnesses at the scene of the Lindt Chocolat Cafe have reported seeing a black flag with white Arabic writing being flown inside — the same flag that Islamic terrorists cart to promote their terrorist messages.

“We have not yet confirmed it is a terrorism-related event,” said New South Wales State Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, in widely reported remarks.

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