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Police respond after a reported stabbing at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Sydney, on Monday, April 15. (Paul Braven/AAP Image/Reuters via CNN Newsource)

Stabbing at Australian church a ‘terrorist act’

April 15, 2024

By Christian Edwards, Paul Devitt and Xiaofei Xu, CNN

Sydney, Australia (CNN) — A bishop was among several people reportedly stabbed at a church service in Sydney, Australia, on Monday in what police called a “terrorist act” just two days after the city was rocked by a mass stabbing in a busy shopping mall.

Video of the incident, appears to show a clergyman being attacked during a ceremony at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley, western Sydney. Several others immediately attempted to intervene while screams could be heard in the church.

Members of the public restrained a 15-year-old boy at the scene, according to New South Wales police. Police then arrived and arrested the teenager, who was taken to a hospital under custody and received surgery for injuries sustained during the attack.

Police said none of those hurt received life-threatening injuries. 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 NSW Ambulance paramedics and taken to Liverpool Hospital for further treatment, police said.

A local official identified the clergyman stabbed as Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel.

While he was bleeding, “he put his hand on the man that stabbed him and said something like, ‘May the Lord Jesus Christ Save you,’” Charbel Saliba, Deputy Mayor of Fairfield City, a suburb of western Sydney, told CNN.

The bishop is a well-known figure in the local community, Saliba said.

Video on social media showed chaotic scenes outside the church, as people kicked and threw objects at police cars, amid angry chants. “Several police officers were injured, police vehicles damaged, and property stolen,” police said.

Chris Minns, the Premier of New South Wales, said the scenes were “disturbing” and that he had been briefed by the state police commissioner.

“It’s important that the community remain calm and continue to listen and act to the directions of police and emergency services,” he said.

Later Monday evening, Minns convened a meeting of faith leaders representing different religious communities across Western Sydney.

The incident comes shortly after six people were killed and several others injured, including a nine-month-old baby, in a stabbing attack at Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday afternoon.

Australian police said Monday that the attacker in Bondi, 40-year-old Joel Cauchi, may have targeted women.

Five women were among the six people killed by Cauchi. Twelve others were injured, eight of whom remained in the hospital Monday in conditions ranging from stable to critical.

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