Man storms Indonesian church with sword, injures 5 people

Man storms Indonesian church with sword, injures 5 people

The Indonesian who attacked a church congregation with a sword during Sunday Mass is a radical Islamist who had wanted to fight with the Islamic State group in Syria, police said Monday. They previously said the suspect had been shot in the stomach.

"We are still investigating the case", Yogyakarta police spokesman Yulianto told BenarNews. Police shot him twice in the leg and he was being treated at a local hospital.

"When he entered, the Mass service had just begun, so all of the congregants were focused on prayers and the priest was at the altar", said Andhi Cahyo, a congregant.

"Everybody started panicking and screaming. I was scrambling to save my wife and children", Cahyo said. The 22-year-old attacker decapitated statues of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary during the incident, photos showed.

The church attacker, believed to be a university student, injured at least four people, including a German-born priest and the police official who eventually detained him. The attacker targeted St. Lidwina Church in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on the island of Java.

More news: Countries who fought Islamic State must help rebuild Iraq -Tillerson

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country on earth.

Muslim-majority Indonesia has seen a surge in religious tensions during recent years, with hardline Muslims calling for a nationwide implementation of Sharia law.

In August 2016, a priest was injured by another knife-wielding man in what appeared to be a botched suicide-bombing attempt at a church in Sumatra, also during Sunday prayer services.

"In the past few months, there has been several incidents of persecution and rejection of church activities by the Islamic Jihad Front (FJI), among others, in Bantul and Mount Kidul", the official told Channel NewsAsia.

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