Australia says church stabbing was terrorist act

STORY: Australia is reeling from its second stabbing incident in three days.

New South Wales state Police Commissioner Karen Webb said on Tuesday that a knife attack on an Assyrian church bishop In Sydney the day before was a terrorist act.

“I declared that it was a terrorist incident. Strike Force Petrina has been established to investigate that side of the events last night.”

At least four people were injured in the attack at The Good Shepherd Church in Sydney’s Wakeley suburb, including Bishop Mar Mari Emmanual, when a man lunged at him with a knife during a service that was live-streamed on Monday.

The incident triggered clashes between police and an angry crowd of the bishop’s followers -- who demanded the attacker be handed over to them.

Emergency crews said they helped 30 people after the clash outside the church, and seven were taken to hospitals with injuries.

Police arrested a male teenager at the scene and held him at the church for his own safety.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said there was no place in Australia for violent extremism.

“This is a disturbing incident. There is no place for violence in our community. There is no place for violent extremism. We are a peace loving nation. This is a time to unite, not divide as a community and as a country.”

Bishop Emmanuel's live-streamed sermons attract a global audience and his clips rack up hundreds of thousands of views online.

He became well known for his hardline views during the pandemic when he described lockdowns as "mass slavery," media reported at the time.