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Sydney church stabbing updates: Police investigating last night's attack as a 'terrorist

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb declared the incident an "act of terrorism."
Claire O'Neill: Australia 'must unite'
Joseph La Posta: There is no place for violence and hatred. "It doesn't matter if it's a church, mosque, temple or gurdwara, everyone should feel safe to pray in NSW."
John Coyne: “I think the first thing people should remember here is that the terrorist threat remains.”
New South Wales Opposition Leader: "The response from some community members was unacceptable. The scenes we saw last night have no place in NSW."
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen thanks those helping the community.
Why was this a terrorist attack and not the one in Bondi Junction?
MP David Saliba: “Everyone deserves to be safe and this is crucial.
AFP will work with international partners on this issue
Processing information online
Prime Minister: People feel uneasy
The Australian Federal Police, ASIO and NSW Police are working together to investigate this incident from all angles
ASIO supports declaring the incident an act of terrorism

Sydney church stabbing updates: Police investigating last night's attack as a 'terrorist 
(See translation in Arabic section)
Sydney - Middle East Times Int’l: NSW Premier Chris Minns confirmed the stabbing attack of a bishop in Sydney's south-west was being investigated as an act of terrorism.
At least two police officers have been injured as large crowds clashed with authorities following the stabbing of a bishop during a live-streamed church service in Sydney's south-west last night.
NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said she had declared the incident a "terrorist act".
'Everyone deserves to be safe'
Fairfield NSW MP David Saliba was at the scene last night to support his local community.
He says he will be out doorknocking today to check in on families.
"There were families in the area who witnessed terrible scenes last night," he says.
"Everyone deserves to be safe and that is paramount.
"I echo the words of the premier and religious leaders to call for calm."
No place for violence and hatred
Joseph La Posta, CEO of Multicultural NSW, says there is no place for violence and hatred.
"It doesn't matter if it's a church or a mosque or a temple or a gurdwara, everyone should feel safe to pray in NSW," he told ABC Radio Sydney.
He praised senior faith leaders who responded to the premier's invitation to meet last night, and issued a statement calling for calm.
"Our faith leaders stood up again, just like they did in the pandemic where they helped us navigate that, they stood up last night and reassured their community that it was going to be OK," he said.
"To trust in the authorities that needed to do their job, to give the authorities the space to do their job in what was a very difficult situation."
Mr La Posta noted that the Christ The Good Shepherd Church, where the stabbing occurred, was just one part of the Assyrian community in NSW and distinct from the Catholic Assyrian cathedral in Greenfield Park.
"Sometimes there is a conflation of these things that an entire community feels a certain way about something.
"Our Assyrian community are a fundamentally peaceful part of our Middle Eastern community, they make an amazing contribution.
"Right now they just want peace and to feel safe going to their respective places of worship."
Australian terrorism threat level at 'possible'
John Coyne, defence strategy expert at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), says the country's terrorism threat is at "possible".
"I think the first thing for people to remember here is that, you know, the terrorism threat is enduring," Mr Coyne says.
"The terrorism threat level in our country is at possible. It's been reduced from "probable" a little while ago.
"And people have gotten confident, they feel that terrorism has moved on with the defeat of ISIS, the defeat of al-Qaeda, but it remains a prevalent threat.
"The second component of it, our law enforcement and national security agencies have emphasised this, there's increasing number of young people who are being radicalised."
NSW opposition leader calls for calm
Mark Speakman says his thoughts and prayers are with the victims and paramedics who attended Christ The Good Shepherd Church after the attack.
NSW Premier Chris Minns (L) and  Karen Webb
The stabbing at the church in Wakeley, located in Sydney's south-west, has been declared a terrorist act.
"The response by some members of the community was unacceptable. The scenes we saw last night have no place in NSW," he said in a statement.
"I join with the premier and faith leaders in calling for calm.
"NSW is one of the greatest testaments to multiculturalism. Our rich and diverse communities enhance and strengthen our state."
The NSW opposition leader urged people to only receive information from official sources, and not to contribute to misinformation through social media.
'Such violence has no place in any community': Chris Bowen
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen thanks those assisting the community.
Resident left scared after attack
Lina Davis has lived in Wakeley for nearly 40 years and says she is scared.
She initially thought the sound of helicopters circling above her home last night was thunder.
"For this to happen in this area, just goes to show it can happen anywhere," she says.
"You get used to hearing these things on TV … but not here.
"A church is the safest place in the world, you would think."
She is disgusted with the rioters who attacked police and damaged property.
"Who do you call when you're in trouble, you call the police," she says.
"You should be ashamed of yourself, there was no need to do that to police."
'Quite extraordinary' to get terrorist investigation so quickly: ASPI expert
John Coyne, defence strategy expert at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), says it's "quite extraordinary" to get a terrorism investigation so quickly.
"It says to me they [police] must have had, in terms of the motivation of the offender, some very clear evidence and probably more than likely some statement immediately or during the attack from them," Dr Coyne says.
Joanna Buque is visiting from the Philippines
Joanna Buque has travelled to Sydney from the Philippines.
She says she is now too scared to leave her accommodation.
"The church is supposed to be a safe place," she says.
"Even in that place they cannot guarantee that it will be safe for people.
"I am feeling like it is really scary to go out, we are tourists, and I don't really feel safe anymore."
Clare O'Neil: Australia 'must come together'
Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil said she has been briefed on the incident overnight.
"Police are continuing their investigations but our thoughts are with those who were injured, their families and community, as well as with the first responders who attended to the victims and restored order last night," Ms O'Neil says in a post on X.
Why was this a terrorist attack but not the one at Bondi Junction?
Director-general of security of ASIO Mike Burgess has explained why this particular case has been determined to be a terrorist attack.
"Simple answer is to call it a terrorist act you need indications of, well, information or evidence that suggest actually the motivation was religiously motivated or ideologically motivated," Mr Burgess says.
"In the case of Saturday, that was not the case.
"In this case, the information we have and the police have before us, indicates that is strongly the case.
PM Anthony Albanese
"That is why it was called an act of terrorism."
AFP will work with international partners on case
 Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw says no stone will be left unturned.
"Given the fact that we'll be alleging [a] religiously motivated violent act, in particular, then what happens is that we work together with those agencies, we share all that intelligence, we have pretty good mechanisms in place," Commissioner Kershaw says.
"Whether that's through monitoring and other means, using our Five Eyes partners for example and other agencies to get a feel for what's happening in the Australian community and globally."
Tackling information online
The prime minister says he is concerned about the role social media is playing in serious incidents in Australia.
"We remain concerned about the role of social media, including the publication of videos that can be very harmful, particularly for younger people who have access," Mr Albanese says.
"Anyone with a phone essentially can do that.
"I think that on Saturday we saw some of the best of human character at the same time as we saw such devastating tragedy."
People are feeling uneasy': PM
Anthony Albanese says it's understandable that people are feeling a sense of unease.
"I understand that people are feeling uneasy. And that's understandable," Mr Albanese says.
"Given the atrocity that occurred on Saturday and then this incident last night.
"I discussed this with Premier Minns this morning as well. And part of us standing up here is to reassure the public that the authorities are doing their work. I have every faith in the New South Wales police, in the Australian Federal Police, in our security agencies, to do their work."
AFP, ASIO and NSW police working together
The commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, Reece Kershaw, says the attack will have an impact on Australian communities.
"This attack will have a significant impact on the Australian community, and I would like to reassure the Australian community that the AFP, together with its law enforcement partners, particularly under the joint counterterrorism team, is working to investigate this incident from all angles," Commissioner Kershaw says.
"The AFP, together with ASIO and New South Wales police, will continue to investigate how this incident occurred, and the individual involved."
ASIO supports declaring incident as terrorism
Director-general of security of ASIO Mike Burgess says the agency supports the NSW police in calling the attack a terrorist incident.
"It does appear to be religiously motivated but we continue our lines of investigation," Mr Burgess says.
"At the same time, our job is to look at individuals connected with the attacker to assure ourselves there's no-one else in the community with similar intent.
"At this stage, we have no indications of that. But it's prudent that we do this to determine there are no threats or immediate threats to security."


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