24 Apr 2024

Joint counter-terrorism unit conducting raids in Sydney as part of Wakeley church stabbing attack investigation

4:04 pm on 24 April 2024

By Sarah Gerathy, ABC

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia - 29th October 2019 : View of the australian Police sign against a blue sky located outside a police station in Greenslopes, Brisbane, Australia

Photo: 123RF

The joint counter-terrorism team (JCTT) is carrying out raids in Sydney as part of the ongoing investigation into last week's stabbing attack at an Assyrian Orthodox church in city's south-west.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw has described it as a "major operation".

ASIO Director-General Mike Burgess said ASIO is involved in the operation as it is part of the JCTT along with the AFP, NSW Police and the NSW Crime Commission.

"My officers are connected and involved and embedded inside the joint counter-terrorism team," he said after a National Press Club address.

NSW Police say there is no current threat to public safety and no link to Thursday's Anzac Day commemorations.

They say more information will be available later on Wednesday.

A 16-year-old boy has been charged with a terrorism offence over the alleged stabbing of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel during a service at the Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley last Monday night.

Churchgoers held down the boy until he was later arrested by police.

Police officers and their vehicles can be seen outside the Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Sydney's western suburb of Wakeley on April 16, 2024. Australian police on April 16 said a brutal knife attack during a live-streamed church service was a religiously motivated "terrorist" act, as they urged calm from the angered local community. (Photo by DAVID GRAY / AFP)

Police outside Christ The Good Shepherd Church on 16 April. Photo: DAVID GRAY / AFP

Bishop Emmanuel sustained lacerations to his head and Father Isaac Royel was also injured in the attack, which took place during a service that was broadcast live online.

A riot broke out outside the church after hundreds of people gathered outside after the stabbing and NSW Police said more than 50 officers in attendance were injured.

Five people, including four men and a 17-year-old boy, allegedly involved in the subsequent unrest have been charged by police.

Police have released images of nine other men they want to speak to as part of their investigation.

Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the counter-terrorism "activity" was connected to the ongoing investigation into the Wakeley incident.

"I wanted to take this opportunity to salute the courage of the people involved, and to thank them for their professionalism as well," he said.


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