Australian police have cordoned off one of Sydney’s main business areas, with reports that hostages are being held in a cafe.
Part of Martin Place, home to the Reserve Bank of Australia,commercial banks and close to the New South Walesstateparliament, was closed off by armed officers.
Live television footage showed patrons inside a cafe standing with their hands pressed against the windows.
A black and white flag similar to those used by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria was also visible.
New South Wales Police tweeted: “A police operation is under way in Martin Place, Sydney’s CBD. People are advised to avoid the area.”