Sword Attack at Church in Indonesia Injures Four, Including German Priest

SLEMAN, Indonesia—Police shot a sword-wielding man who attacked a church congregation in Indonesia during Sunday Mass, injuring four people, among them a German priest.

The reason for the attack on St. Lidwina Church on Sunday morning in Yogyakarta province’s Sleman district wasn’t immediately clear.

The 22-year-old attacker decapitated statues of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary during the incident, officials said.

Churches are a common target for Islamic militants in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.

Local police detective Fendi Timur said counterterrorism police would be involved in the investigation.

Video shows people in the church throwing books at the 22-year-old suspect as he lunged toward them with his sword.

Witnesses and police said the injured included a police officer who tried to subdue the attacker and the 81-year-old priest, Karl Edmund Prier, a longtime resident of Indonesia.

They suffered back, neck and head wounds and are in stable condition.

The suspect, identified only as Suliyono, was hospitalized.

Yos Bintoro, a priest from the church, said it condemned the assault but urged people not to overreact online.

“We oppose any movement that denies the diversity and the unity of our nation,” he said.

—Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.

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