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Sydney hostage crisis: The latest

The hostage situation in central Sydney is still unfolding as night falls and the tension builds.

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Five hostages have fled from the Lindt Cafe though it is unconfirmed if they escaped or were freed by the gunman.

Media outlets around Sydney have been contacted by hostages still inside the building on behalf of the gunman and have made two requests.

The gunman is believed to be wanting an ISIS flag delivered to the cafe and also wants to speak with Australian PM Tony Abbott on the phone.

Both these requests have been denied by police.

Live television feeds of the action being broadcasted by the likes of Sky News and Channel 7 are reported to have no live delay or 10 second lag, a decision that saw much discussion during the live broadcast on Sky News tonight.

The gory reality is that people tuning in via the live pictures on TV could see anything over the next few hours.

A channel 7 journalist has been tweeting from across the road in Martin Place from inside the Channel 7 offices with regular updates throughout the day, one of the last updates being that the lights inside the Lindt Cafe had been turned off as nightfall approaches.

This will make both the negotiation and potential rescue/takeover much more difficult for police on the ground.

NSW police are refusing to go into any detail about the tactics in place as it is widely believed that the gunman inside the Lindt Cafe has some form of access to news broadcasts and potentially even social media.

Much media have slammed the use of Twitter that has been abuzz with many speculative stories throughout the day, nearly all of which have been unconfirmed.

As the world continues to watch, thoughts and prayers from all around the world are very much with the hostages and their families tonight.

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