Australian counter-terrorism unit arrests 7 teens following attack

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – A suspect is in custody following a stabbing incident at a church in the Sydney suburb of Wakeley that left multiple people injured on Monday night. The Australian counterterrorism force confirmed the arrest of seven teenage males on Wednesday, all of whom are believed to be linked to a 16-year-old charged with the stabbing of an Assyrian church bishop during an outdoor mass.

The teenagers, known associates of the alleged attacker, are considered a significant threat to societal safety. They are suspected of involvement in religiously motivated extremist activities, according to law enforcement officials. The young suspect at the center of the investigation is now facing terrorism charges following the attack on Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel on April 15 at the Assyrian Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley.

New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner David Hudson assured the public that the situation is under control. “We have taken necessary action to prevent any further harm to the community,” he stated.

The joint operation by the counterterrorism team resulted in the arrest of seven individuals after executing 13 warrants in Sydney and Goulburn. The operation, which involved over 400 police officers, spanned several Sydney suburbs including Bankstown, Prestons, Casula, Lurnea, Rydalmere, Greenacre, Strathfield, Chester Hill, and Punchbowl, as well as a location in Goulburn.

Seven underage males were detained during the operation, and five others, including two adult males, are currently under questioning. Authorities seized a significant amount of electronic material during the operation.

The attack on Bishop Emmanuel, previously described as a “terrorist incident” by authorities, has left the religious leader forgiving his attacker. Bishop Emmanuel, known for his conservative views within the Assyrian Orthodox faith and his vocal stance on various issues, including the war in Gaza and COVID-19 restrictions, reassured his followers through a social media message that he is recovering well and holds no ill will towards his attacker.