Australian police have officially labeled Monday's stabbing at a Sydney church as a religiously motivated "terrorist act," sparking widespread concern and unrest. A 16-year-old boy was arrested after a bishop, a priest, and churchgoers were attacked during mass at the Assyrian Christ The Good Shepherd Church. At least four people sustained "non-life-threatening" injuries, while the attacker also suffered injuries.

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The incident, captured on a church livestream, prompted immediate chaos in the Wakeley suburb. Australian authorities, defining terror offenses as ideologically motivated, are investigating the incident as a case of religious extremism. Despite ongoing investigations, the religion of the alleged attacker remains undisclosed. Graphic videos of the attack circulated on social media, inciting outrage and leading to clashes between police and a large crowd at the church site. Two officers were injured, one sustaining a broken jaw, while paramedics sought refuge inside the church amid the violence.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has convened emergency meetings of national security agencies in response to the "disturbing" attack, emphasizing Australia's commitment to peace and condemning violent extremism. NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb reported that the bishop and priest injured in the attack were undergoing surgery and were fortunate to be alive. The priest, Father Isaac Royel, and the bishop, Mar Mari Emmanuel, both prominent figures, have drawn significant attention for their sermons, further heightening the incident's significance.

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According to Ms. Webb, the teenager allegedly directed religiously motivated comments towards the bishop as he approached, indicating that the attack during a livestreamed church service was intended to intimidate both the parishioners present and those watching online. She clarified that the suspect acted alone and, although known to the police, was not on any terror watch list. Following the incident, the alleged offender underwent surgery for injuries to his fingers, with uncertainty about whether they occurred during the attack or during his apprehension by the congregation.

The church stabbing occurred just days after a separate and unrelated stabbing at a popular Sydney shopping center, which resulted in the deaths of seven people. State Premier Chris Minns acknowledged the heightened anxiety within the community, emphasizing the need for calm. Religious and community leaders echoed this sentiment, condemning violence in all forms and expressing confidence in the NSW Police's investigation. Minns warned against any retaliatory violence, affirming that such actions would face the full force of the law.

A strike force has been mobilized to apprehend those involved in the subsequent riot, with Ms. Webb asserting that they would be pursued and arrested. Dominic Morgan, head of the NSW Ambulance, denounced the crowd's behavior as "outrageous," emphasizing the importance of community support for emergency responders.

Wakeley, the neighborhood where the incident occurred, is a significant hub for Sydney's small Christian Assyrian community, many of whom have sought refuge from persecution and conflict in Iraq and Syria.