Police say Australian church stabbing was terrorist act

Australian police say a knife attack on an Assyrian church bishop and some followers in Sydney was a terrorist act motivated by suspected religious extremism, as the country reels from a second stabbing incident in three days.

At least four people were wounded in the attack, including Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel of the Assyrian Christ The Good Shepherd Church, when a man lunged at him with a knife during a service live-streamed on Monday.

The incident at the western Sydney suburb of Wakeley triggers clashes outside the church between police and an angry crowd of the bishop’s followers who demand the attacker be handed over to them.

Police arrest a male teenager at the scene on Monday and are forced to hold him at the church for his own safety as the crowd of worshippers gathered outside.

“We believe there are elements that are satisfied in terms of religious motivated extremism,” New South Wales state Police Commissioner Karen Webb says during a press conference.

“After consideration of all the material, I declared that it was a terrorist incident.”

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