Wednesday 24 April 2024

Seven teenagers arrested after posing 'unacceptable risk' following Sydney church stabbing

Teenager charged with terrorism over stabbing attack on TikToker Sydney  bishop | Arab News

Police in Australia have arrested seven teenagers who posed an "unacceptable risk and threat" to the community in the wake of the stabbing of a bishop in a Sydney church.

The teenagers, all aged between 15 and 17, are accused of being part of a network that follows a violent extremist ideology.

That network included a 16-year-old who has been charged with committing a terrorist act after Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was stabbed during a service at the Assyrian Christ the Good Shepherd Church on 16 April.

Following the alleged terrorist attack, New South Wales Police deputy commissioner David Hudson said "a number of associates were identified" which authorities believed warranted further police attention.

An investigation was launched by the Joint Counter-Terrorism Team, which comprises federal and state police as well as Australia's national security agency and which specialises in extremists and organised crime.

"We will allege that these individuals adhered to a religiously motivated, violent extremist ideology," Mr Hudson said.

"It was considered that the group... posed an unacceptable risk and threat to the people of New South Wales, and our current purely investigative strategies could not adequately ensure public safety."

More than 400 police officers executed 13 search warrants at properties across southwest Sydney during the investigation but no evidence of specific targets or timing of an intended "violent act" was found, police said.

Five other teenagers are still being questioned by the Joint Counter-Terrorism Team.

It comes after an Australian Federal Court judge extended an order banning social media platform X from showing videos of the bishop being repeatedly stabbed.

Justice Geoffrey Kennett extended the ban, which the court put in place on Monday, until 10 May.

The ban was met with criticism from X chief executive Elon Musk, who accused Australia of censorship.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese later berated Musk, calling him an "arrogant billionaire who thinks he's above the law".