Sydney Church Knife Attack Declared Terrorist Incident

Sydney Church Knife Attack Declared Terrorist Incident

Australian police have classified the knife attack on an Assyrian church bishop and attendees in Sydney as a terrorist act prompted by suspected religious extremism. During a church service livestream on Monday, Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel and others were injured when a man attacked them with a knife in Wakeley, a suburb of western Sydney. The incident resulted in clashes outside the church between police and angry followers of the bishop, demanding custody of the attacker.

Authorities arrested a male teenager at the scene for his safety. Police Commissioner Karen Webb stated that the attack had elements of religiously motivated extremism, leading her to declare it a terrorist incident. Although the attacker traveled far from home with a knife, police believe he acted alone, emphasizing that it was a premeditated act.

The Christ the Good Shepherd Church referred to the attack as an isolated incident and emphasized non-retaliation, awaiting further details from the police investigation into the attacker's motive.

In the aftermath, emergency services attended to around 30 individuals, with seven hospitalized for injuries sustained during clashes. Numerous police officers were also hospitalized, and police vehicles were damaged during the incident.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese condemned violent extremism, stressing the need for unity in the nation. Bishop Emmanuel, known for his globally viewed sermons, had previously expressed contentious views during the pandemic. He criticized lockdown measures and Islam in some of his online sermons.

In response to the incident, the Lakemba mosque, one of Australia's largest, received firebomb threats. The Lebanese Muslim Association expressed concern over potential attacks on places of worship of all faiths.

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation's director-general of security, Mike Burgess, assured that investigations were ongoing to assess any immediate security threats posed by individuals associated with the attacker. Burgess acknowledged the existence of a video where the alleged attacker made religious remarks but emphasized the need for a comprehensive understanding of the individual's motives.

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