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Australian Police Label Sydney Church Stabbing As Terrorist Attack

The Australian police says the 16-year-old suspect behind the church knife attack was inspired by religious extremism.

Australian police have classified Monday’s stabbing at a Sydney church as a religiously motivated “terrorist act,” amplifying concerns about extremism within the country.

The attack unfolded during mass at the Assyrian Christ The Good Shepherd Church, where a 16-year-old assailant targeted a bishop, a priest, and worshippers. At least four individuals sustained “non-life-threatening” injuries, including the attacker himself.

The incident, captured on a church livestream, incited unrest in the suburb of Wakeley, with graphic videos circulating widely on social media. Hundreds of people congregated at the Assyrian Orthodox Church, engaging in violent clashes with police officers guarding the premises.

The confrontations resulted in injuries to two officers, destruction of police vehicles, and a tense standoff that lasted over three hours.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese convened an emergency meeting of national security agencies in response to the “disturbing” attack, emphasising that Australia is a “peace-loving nation” with no tolerance for violent extremism.

Meanwhile, NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb disclosed that the bishop and priest were undergoing surgery and expressed gratitude that they survived the assault.

The assailant, described as a teenager known to police, reportedly made religiously motivated remarks before launching the attack.

Police believe the livestreamed service was deliberately targeted to intimidate both worshippers present and those watching online. However, they assert that the suspect acted alone and was not on any terror watch list.

NSW Premier Chris Minns urged calm amidst heightened anxiety, warning against retaliatory violence and assuring that law enforcement would pursue justice for those involved in the church riot.

In a separate incident just days earlier, a stabbing spree at a Sydney shopping centre left seven dead, further unsettling the nation.

The Wakeley neighbourhood, home to Sydney’s Christian Assyrian community, has been deeply affected by the attack, as Bishop Emmanuel, a key figure in the community, has faced controversy within the Assyrian Church but remains respected by many.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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