A day after a dramatic rescue at a Sydney café where a gunman had taken 17 hostages Monday morning, details began to come out on Tuesday from the tense 16-hour standoff that ended with three people, including the gunman, dead.
Among the conversations and videos made by the hostages under duress that have been released is one by Brazilian hostage Marcia Mikhael, who was later pictured being carried out of the building by two armed agents, communicating with the outside via Facebook and text messages. None of them were shown during the crisis, because of a request to the media made by the Australian government.
“Help, I don’t want to die,” the woman texted her husband about two hours after the crisis started, her cousin Richard Khouri told Brazil's Globonews.
Mikhael, a native of the Brazilian state of Goiás but an Austrailian resident for more than 20 years now, is a bodybuilder and the mother of three. According to published reports, she works as a project manager at a financial institution located at the Martin Place complex where the café is located.
Globo's news portal G1 included the entire Facebook message Mikhael composed and posted while being held captive inside the café.
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"Dear friends and family," she wrote. "I am in the Lindt Café in Martin Place taken hostage by a member of [ISIS]. The man who is keeping us hostage has asked for small and simple demands, and none have been met. He is now threatening to start killing us. We need help right now. The man wants the world to know that Australia is under attack by the Islamic State."
She then sets out to list the man’s demands, among them to deliver an ISIS flag to the coffee shop, after which one hostage would be released and to speak directly with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a live broadcast for other five people to be released.
In her message Mikhael also said that the man was armed and had a bomb, and that he had warned the hostages there were other two “brothers” with bombs in Sydney who were waiting for his command.
The Iranian-born Man Haron Monis, a self-styled Muslim cleric who was out on bail on a string of violent charges, was killed during the rescue.
Among the 17 hostages was a pregnant woman, elderly people and some who were sick.