Man with Sword Attacks Church in Yogyakarta, Injures Four

Police officers investigate inside St Lidwina Church in Sleman following an attack there

Police officers investigate inside St Lidwina Church in Sleman following an attack there

A priest and three other people were seriously injured when a man attacked a church congregation with a sword during Sunday mass in Indonesia.

About 100 people were attending the service in the town of Sleman in Yogyakarta province on Java island when a man barged in wielding the sword began attacking terror-stricken faithful, seemingly indiscriminately. Security officials tried to stop the attacker from entering the church, but the man forced his way into the building, police officials said.

Witnesses said the attacker charged in through the main entrance of the church, hurting a member of the parish before heading towards the altar in the middle of Sunday Mass.

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

He said: Everybody started panicking and screaming.

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He said that when the police arrived, they fired a warning shot but the attacker refused to surrender.

Churches are a common target for Islamic militants in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.

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.

Three months later, a church in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, was struck by a homemade bomb which injured four people.

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

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