A gunman stormed into a trendy cafe in Sydney, Australia, on Sunday and was holding 12 people hostage while forcing them to hold up Islamic banners in the window, reports said.
Photos from the scene showed employees of the Lindt Chocolate cafe standing against the windows of the store while holding the flags.
The hostages were taken during an attempted robbery at the cafe around 10 a.m. Sydney time in the financial section of the city, the Daily Telegraph said.
Some witnesses said the man had a shotgun.
Police were surrounding the store and trying to get the hostages out safely.
The incident comes three months after federal cops in Australia made a slew of arrests amid an alleged plot to abduct random citizens and execute them by beheading them in a public place, the Telegraph said.