Activation of Task Force Pioneer Means Sydney Situation is Considered a Terrorist Attack
Update: The situation ended when heavily armed police stormed the cafe and killed the lone gunman. Two hostages were killed during the siege.
The Sydney hostage situation that started Sunday has been officially classified as a terrorist attack by Sydney’s government. Task Force Pioneer, the city’s counter-terrorism unit, has been activated and a new set of protocols have been initiated.
These protocols include setting a wider perimeter, mandatory evacuations, and the establishment of a police operations center nearby.
“We still don’t know what the motivation might be,” Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said. “But in terms of our protocols we’ve set up our command and control protocols.”
The hostage taker, assumed but not confirmed to be an individual, has been contacted by police negotiators. As of this post, five hostages have escaped in two separate instances.
According to ABC:
New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said there is at least one armed person holding an undisclosed number of hostages in the cafe. Police have not yet had contact with the hostage taker, he said, adding that the situation began Monday at 9:45 a.m. local time.
We will be watching for more about this apparent Islamic terrorist attack.