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Bishop stabbed multiple times during service in front of congregation

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Mar Mari Emmanuel, a prominent Orthodox Bishop of Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley in Sydney’s west was attacked on Monday, April 15, just after 7pm.

Mass was underway and Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was at the altar when a knifeman walked up to him and began stabbing him repeatedly in the neck and shoulder.

Church members screamed in terror as the knifeman carried out the attack, which was viewed by those watching via live stream.

Members quickly rushed to the altar to hold back the attacker and some members were attacked in the process.

The bishop was later pictured being taken to an ambulance in a stretcher.

This comes less than 48 hours after the stabbing in the Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday afternoon, April 13.

Police in Australia have now declared that they are treating the incident as a terrorist act motivated by suspected religious extremism.

On Monday, April 15, New South Wales police officers detained a 16-year-old boy who is accused of stabbing a bishop and injuring three others during a sermon at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Sydney’s Wakeley district.

It was the second knife assault to rock Sydney in three days and has sparked riots and unrest in Australia’s largest city.

The shocking attack, which was being live-streamed on YouTube by church cameras, occurred while Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was preaching on Monday afternoon.

The bishop was speaking from the altar when a male dressed in a dark hoodie showed up and suddenly lunged at him, stabbing the elderly clergyman’s head and neck.

The alleged attacker was reportedly smirking at horrified onlookers as he was pinned down after wounding Bishop Emmanuel, Father Isaac Royel, and two others.

Police arrested the attacker at the scene and were forced to hold him at the church for his own safety after a crowd gathered outside and demanded the attacker be brought out.

At a press conference early on Tuesday morning in Sydney, NSW Commissioner Karen Webb said, “I declared that it was a terrorist incident… We believe there are elements that are satisfied in terms of religious motivated extremism”.

She added, “Strike Force Petrina has been established to investigate that side of the events last night and a referral has been made and agreed to by the joint counterterrorism investigation team that we will work jointly with NSW police lead, with AFP and other Commonwealth agencies in this investigation”.

Meanwhile, Christ The Good Shepherd Church revealed both Bishop Emmanuel and Father Isaac were in a ‘stable condition’. The suspect is also being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

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