Sydney Siege ends, Gunman Killed, Two Indian Hostages Rescued

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Sydney, Dec 16: The hostage crisis in the Lindt cafe in Sydney finally ended after 17 hours with the killing the Gunman and rescuing all the hostages including two Indian IT professionals following a planned operation carried out by Australian commandos.

Earlier, Infosys had confirmed that one of its employee was among the hostages inside the case, but another Indian from Kolkata was also there. He was also an Infosys employee. This came to light after the operation in the evening yesterday.

"We have received confirmation that another Infosys employee was in the siege. Both employees have been rescued safely," the company said in a statement.

"We are grateful to the Australian authorities and New South Wales Police for their efforts to ensure the safe rescue of the hostages. We also thank the Indian Consulate and the Ministry of External Affairs for their continuous monitoring and involvement in the situation, and everyone else who helped see us all through this ordeal," the statement said.

Shortly after the operation, External Affairs Ministry officials said that Indian IT professionals Vishwakant Ankit Reddy and Pushpendu Ghosh currently employed with IT major Infosys are both safe and now in police custody.

The gunman, identified as Iranian refugee Man Haron Monis, who was living in Australia for 18 years in different name declaring himself as Islamic guru. He had criminal records. He was accused of killing his wife. He was also facing more than 40 charges of sexual assault.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed on Tuesday that the gunman at the centre of the Sydney cafe siege, in which two hostages were shot dead, was known to the federal police and had an "infatuation with extremism".

Haron Monis, 50, was associated with certain Islamic State terror groups. He had a long history of violent crime, infatuation with extremism and mental instability.

"We know that he sent offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan and was found guilty of offences related to this. We also know that he posted graphic extremist material online", said Abbott describing the hostage drama, which brought the central Sydney to a standstill, as a brush with terrorism.

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