Sword attack in Indonesian Christian church wounds 4 people

Three Christian worshippers and one police officer were injured when a man carrying a sword attacked a Christian church in Yogyakarta in Indonesia's Sleman District on Feb. 11, according to police.

(REUTERS / Hamad I Mohammed)A man holds a sword used during a fight between nationalised Sunni and Shi'ites in Hamad Town, south of Manama March 3, 2011.

Witnesses recounted how the sword-wielding attacker had barged into the St. Lidwina Bedog church in the middle of their mass on Sunday. The assailant then reportedly hurt one parishioner before proceeding to destroy the statues at the altar. This continued for about 15 minutes before police arrived to respond to the attack, The Straits Times detailed.

Church member Andhi Cahyo reportedly said police fired a warning shot when they arrived, but the man did not surrender and even attacked one of the officers. He ended up being shot in the legs but was able to injure the said officer before the police caught him.

Father Karl-Edmund Prier was among those who were injured in the sword attack, and all four victims were brought to the hospital to be treated. The suspect, who was identified as university student Suliono, was taken to Bhayangkara Hospital to have his gunshot wounds attended to.

The latest church attack stirred fears of a terror attack. However, police did not confirm this and said they were still investigating the incident.

In December last year, authorities in Indonesia arrested 13 suspected militants in pre-emptive raids across the country ahead of the Christmas holidays. Many of those who were detained were connected to the Islamic State or were proven to have fought in Syria, the AFP reported.

There was no specific terror threat since the string of arrests had been conducted, said police spokesperson Martinus Sitompul. However, he added they had to increase security measures around churches and public places during the season in light of the past deadly terror attacks in the country.

In 2000, 18 people were killed in a terror attack on Christmas Eve, and a bombing in a nightclub killed more than 200 in 2002. ISIS also claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing and gun attack in Jakarta in January 2016 which left eight people dead.