A 16-hour hostage siege in Sydney, Australia has ended with the death of attacker Man Haron-Monis and two of his hostages killed and a policeman injured, but in stable condition. Other hostages were also reported injured, but details are scant.
He was born in Iran, but fled the country in 1995 to escape fraud charges. During his time in Australia he was charged with accessory to murder in the death of his ex-wife, and was charged with sexually assaulting numerous women while presenting himself as a “healer.”
Haron-Monis most recently claimed to be a Sunni cleric, though that does not appear to have been the case, and indeed he didn’t even bring his own ISIS flag to the hostage situation, having to make a flag his first demand.
What he wanted beyond that was still unclear, though he reportedly sought a phone call with Premier Tony Abbott and also wanted to broadcast a video on local media.
Though the borrowed ISIS flag sparked a lot of speculation, experts say the attack showed a remarkably disorganized and poorly planned lone wolf operation, with several hostages managing to escape during the protracted siege, and Haron-Monis appeared to have no strategy for what to do after taking the hostages.
Still, hawks are playing up the dubious ISIS connections as a way of beating the drums for more crackdowns on civil liberties, particularly against the Muslim communities in Western nations, trying to portray an isolated, lone wolf attack as proof of ISIS infiltration.