Sydney church stabbing incident investigated as ‘terrorist attack’, say authorities

Australian church stabbing incident
 Australian Police start investigating Sydney church stabbing incident as ‘terrorist act’. Photo Courtesy:  Videgrab of Sydney church stabbing from X

Australian Police on Monday (April 15, 2024) declared the stabbing incident in a Sydney church a religiously motivated “terrorist act”.

Police have arrested a 16-year-old over the stabbing incident, which occurred just days after a mass stabbing incident occurred inside a shopping mall in Sydney.

The boy attacked a bishop, a priest and churchgoers during mass at the Assyrian Christ The Good Shepherd Church. The attacker also suffered injuries.

“Officers attached to Fairfield City Police Area Command attended and found a 53-year-old man with lacerations to his head, and a 39-year-old man, who was injured after attempting to intervene, suffered lacerations and a shoulder wound,” NSW Police Force said in a statement.

Police said they were treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics before being taken to Liverpool Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

According to reports, hundreds of people gathered outside the Assyrian Orthodox Church and clashed with the police.

Two police officers were injured in the incident.

“During a public order incident, projectiles were thrown at officers, during which a number of police officers were injured, police vehicles damaged, and property stolen,” police said in a statement.

Where is the arrested teen now?

Police said the 16-year-old was removed from the church and taken to hospital where he remains under police guard.

“He has undergone surgery for injuries sustained during the alleged attack,” police said in a statement.

As a result of the incident a number of officers were struck by objects and suffered various injuries which required treatment.

Officers attached to Fairfield City Police Area Command have established Strike Force Petrina to investigate the stabbing, and Strike Force Dribs to investigate the public order incident and identify those involved.

What happened?

Footage posted online on Monday shows Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was speaking at Wakeley’s Christ The Good Shepherd Church, an Assyrian Orthodox church, when an unidentified man in a black hoodie confronted him.

The bishop appears to try to talk to the man, who then stabs the bishop’s face and neck around 7 p.m. local time.

Bishop Emmanuel has gained a following online in recent years as an outspoken critic of COVID restrictions.

He described lockdowns in one sermon as “mass slavery” and has spoken out against vaccine mandates.

Sydney mall attack

The attack Monday comes just days after a knife-wielding man stabbed more than a dozen people at a popular mall in Sydney.

It is unclear if the two attacks are linked.