A hostage runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. New South Wales state police would not say what was happening inside the cafe or whether hostages were being held. But television footage shot through the cafe's windows showed several people with their arms in the air. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
An injured hostage is wheeled to an ambulance after shots were fired during a cafe siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. New South Wales state police would not say what was happening inside the cafe or whether hostages were being held. But television footage shot through the cafe’s windows showed several people with their arms in the air. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

SYDNEY, Australia (New York Times) — Heavily armed police officers ended a hostage siege in Sydney early Tuesday, storming a downtown cafe where an armed man had held employees and customers for more than 16 hours.

The captor and two hostages died during the confrontation and four other people were wounded, the New South Wales Police said Tuesday morning.

Live television images of the scene showed intense flashes of gunfire and loud concussions from stun grenades as police officers raced into the building with weapons drawn about 2:10 a.m. local time, followed later by medics with stretchers.

Just before the police entered the building, at least six hostages were seen running from the cafe. The police said there were 17 hostages in all.

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