Sydney siege: Lone gunman, two hostages killed

Iranian refugee Man Haron Monis speaks in this still image taken from undated file footage. He was identified by  Australian security forces as the lone gunman in the Sydney siege. -- PHOTO: REUTERS/ABC via Reuters TV
Iranian refugee Man Haron Monis speaks in this still image taken from undated file footage. He was identified by  Australian security forces as the lone gunman in the Sydney siege. -- PHOTO: REUTERS/ABC via Reuters TV

SYDNEY (AFP) - The lone gunman and two hostages were killed and four other people wounded when police stormed a Sydney cafe where 17 people were being held early Tuesday, authorities said.

The 50-year-old male who held out for more than 16 hours was shot and pronounced dead after being taken to hospital, New South Wales police said.

A man, aged 34, and a woman, 38, were also pronounced dead after being taken to hospital.

"It was the act of an individual. This should never destroy or change the way of our life," NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said at a press conference.

Police said they had launched a "critical incident investigation" into the operation that ended the siege in a city centre cafe.

"About 2:10am (Tuesday), a confrontation occurred between police and a man who had taken a number of people hostage inside a cafe on Martin Place," the police statement said.

"Shots were fired during the confrontation.

"As a result, the 50-year-old man was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital." Australian media had identified him as Man Haron Monis who arrived in Australia in 1996 as a refugee from Iran.

Two women were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries and a male police officer suffered a non-life threatening wound to his face from gunshot pellets and was taken to hospital.

A third woman was taken to hospital with a gunshot wound to her shoulder.

And a 35-year-old woman was taken to hospital as a precaution, the statement said.

Police confirmed no explosives were found at the cafe after first reports Monday had suggested several bombs had been planted around the city.