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Australia: Stabbing of bishop at Sydney church a ‘terrorist act,’ police say

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said: “We will allege [the suspect] attended that church armed with a knife and stabbed the bishop and priest … We believe there are elements that are satisfied in terms of religious motivated extremism.”

Please pray for the full recovery of Mar Mari Emmanuel.

“Stabbing of bishop at Sydney church a ‘terrorist act,’ police say,” by Christian Edwards, Paul Devitt and Xiaofei Xu, CNN, April 16, 2024:

SydneyCNN — A bishop and a priest were stabbed in an alleged “terrorist act” at a Sydney church that sparked a riot on Monday, police said, just two days after the Australian city was rocked by a mass stabbing in a busy shopping mall.

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was presiding over a service that was being livestreamed at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in the western suburb of Wakeley, when an alleged attacker was seen charging toward him. Several parishioners immediately attempted to intervene while screams could be heard in the church.

Members of the public restrained the alleged attacker at the scene, according to New South Wales police. Police then arrived and arrested the suspect, later identified as a 16-year-old boy, who was taken to the hospital under custody and received surgery for injuries sustained during the attack. Police initially said he was 15.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb told reporters Tuesday that police believe the attack was premeditated.

“We will allege [the suspect] attended that church armed with a knife and stabbed the bishop and priest … We believe there are elements that are satisfied in terms of religious motivated extremism,” she said.

A 53-year-old man received cuts to his head and a 39-year-old man, who was injured after attempting to intervene, suffered cuts and a shoulder wound, police said. Both were treated by paramedics and taken to the hospital.

“They are lucky to be alive,” Webb said.

In a statement, Christ The Good Shepherd Church said Bishop Emmanuel suffered several blows to the head and body. Parish priest Father Isaac Royel was also injured but no one else inside the church was harmed, it said.

Charbel Saliba, Deputy Mayor of Fairfield City, a suburb of western Sydney, told CNN that Emmanuel was well known in the local community.

While the bishop was bleeding, “he put his hand on the man that stabbed him and said something like, ‘May the Lord Jesus Christ Save you,’” Saliba said, citing a witness….

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