SYDNEY (AP) — Police in Sydney are negotiating with a gunman who's holding an unknown number of people hostage in a downtown cafe.

Five hostages escaped earlier in the day.

The police commissioner in New South Wales says, "We have not yet confirmed it is a terrorism-related event," but TV footage shot through the cafe's windows showed several people with their arms in the air and two people holding up a black flag with the Shahada, or Islamic declaration of faith, written on it.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.