Terror Strikes During Livestreamed Mass: Shocking Stabbing Incident Shocks Churchgoers

By Jennifer Wentworth | Tuesday, 16 April 2024 04:30 PM
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In a shocking turn of events, a church bishop and priest were stabbed during a live-streamed mass in Wakeley, a suburb of Sydney, Australia.

The incident, which occurred at the Assyrian Christ The Good Shepherd Church, has been declared a "terrorist incident" by the Australian police.

The suspect, a 16-year-old male whose identity has not been disclosed, was taken into custody on Tuesday following the attack on Monday night. "We believe there are elements that are satisfied in terms of religious motivated extremism," stated New South Wales state Police Commissioner Karen Webb, as reported by Reuters. "After consideration of all the material, I declared that it was a terrorist incident."

The live-streamed footage from the church showed Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel behind the altar when an individual approached him, brandishing an unidentified object. The man then lunged at the bishop, stabbing him in the chest. The congregation, in a state of shock, rushed to aid the bishop who fell to the ground as the assailant continued his attack.

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The video of the incident quickly circulated on social media, leading to an enraged crowd gathering at the church demanding retribution. The crowd hurled bricks and bottles at the police, who had to temporarily barricade the suspect inside the church for his safety, as reported by The Associated Press.

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According to Reuters, first responders attended to 30 people involved in the incident outside the church, which resulted in seven injuries, including police officers. Twenty police vehicles were also damaged, as cited by Webb.

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The teenage suspect, known to the police but not on a terror watch list, had been convicted in January on several charges, including possession of a switchblade knife, stalking, intimidation, and damaging property. Despite this, he was released on a good behavior bond by a Sydney court, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as reported by The Associated Press.

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Bishop Emmanuel, who is known for his strong social media presence and outspoken views on various issues including the situation in Gaza and COVID-19 restrictions, was the primary target of the attack. The church released a statement saying, "the attacker approached the lectern with a concealed knife then lunged forth to deliver multiple blows; to the head, then several to the body."

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The statement also revealed that another priest, Fr. Isaac Royel, was targeted in the attack and is currently receiving treatment for his injuries. The church confirmed that no other individuals were injured during the incident and that the attacker was swiftly apprehended by attendees and is now in police custody. Bishop Emmanuel's condition is reported to be "stable and improving."

This incident comes on the heels of a stabbing spree at a Sydney mall that claimed six lives just days prior.

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