Monday, December 15, 2014
Australia: A gunman who took a number of people hostage inside a Sydney chocolate cafe is a Muslim cleric out on bail on a string of violent charges
The gunman is Iranian-born Haron Monis. The Islamic gunman died after a swarm of heavily armed police stormed the cafe and ended the 16-hour siege. U.S. officials have confirmed that Monis is known to Australian authorities, and by extension is known to U.S. authorities. It was not immediately clear whether his name is on U.S. terrorism databases. A U.S. intelligence source confirmed that Monis has been arrested previously for extremist activity in Australia. Monis has a history of espousing extremist views in his adopted nation and was known for sending hate messages to the families of Australian troops killed in battle. Monis has been accused of dozens of sexual assaults, mostly while working as a spiritual healer in the country. Monis was currently on bail on charges of being complicit in the murder of his own ex-wife. He is believed to have converted from Shiite Islam to Sunni Islam after moving to Australia.