The gunman who took hostages at the Lyndt Cafe in Martin Place is known to police.
The Islamist wants officials to deliver an ISIS flag to the cafe. He also said he wants to speak with Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
The hostage taker in Sidney is Mufti Sheik Haron – A man who previously sent hate mail to Australian war widows.
Sheikh Haron faced up to 14 years for taunting war widows.
In the video the sheikh is sitting near the parliament building about a block from the Lyndt Cafe.
The Sheikh had a website but it is now suspended.
And Shekh Haron has a Twitter account but has not posted since 2009.
Five people have escaped the cafe since the siege began on Monday morning in Sydney.
CBS Local reported:
The first development came six hours after the hostage crisis began, when three men were seen running from a fire exit of the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in downtown Sydney.
Shortly afterward, two women, one after another, sprinted from the cafe and into the arms of heavily armed police. Both were wearing aprons with the Lindt chocolate logo, indicating they were cafe employees.
It was unclear whether the five had escaped or been released.
“We do not have any information that suggests that anybody is harmed at this stage,” New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said, after the first three hostages had emerged.
“The first thing that we are doing is making sure that they are OK. We will then establish who they are and then we will continue to work with them.”
Burn said the number of hostages wasn’t as high as 30. Earlier speculation had put the number as high as 40.
She said police negotiators had made contact with the gunman. The suspect was already known to the Australian government and has been arrested previously for extremist activity, a U.S. intelligence source confirmed to CBS News.
CBS News partner Ten Eyewitness News reports it spoke directly to two hostages inside the cafe, who confirmed two demands from the gunman: He wants an ISIS flag delivered to the cafe, and wants to speak to the Prime Minster Tony Abbott.
— James Valles (@jamesvalles) December 15, 2014