World

Priest stabbed in arm at mass

Attacker also tries to set off explosive device at Medan church

A knife-wielding man stabbed a Catholic priest and tried to set off an explosive device at a church in Indonesia yesterday, police said, making it the latest attack on religious minorities in the country.

Priest Albert Pandiangan was leading a mass at St Yosep Catholic Church in Medan, in North Sumatra province, when a young man approached him and stabbed him in his left arm, said Senior Commander Nur Fallah, North Sumatra Police director of general crime.

The attacker was carrying a homemade explosive device, said Mr Nur Fallah.

"Somebody tried to kill the priest by pretending to attend the church service and at the same time, tried to (set off) something, like a firecracker, but the firecracker didn't explode, (there were only fumes)," Mr Nur Fallah told reporters.

The priest had slight injuries and was taken to hospital, reported AFP.

A picture of the attacker's ID card circulating online claimed he was Muslim.

Churchgoers reacted quickly by catching the attacker and calling the police.

A witness, Mr Markus Harianto Manullan, said the assailant wore a jacket and carried a bag.

"He sat in the same row as I did... I saw him fiddling with something in his jacket, and then I heard a small explosion and he immediately ran to the podium," Mr Manullan said.

Police are still investigating the man's motive.

OTHER ATTACKS

In recent years, there have been a number of attacks on religious minorities in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

A suicide attack in Jakarta in January killed four attackers and four civilians, including a Westerner, and injured 19.

In July, a suicide bomber linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group blew himself up outside a police station in Central Java.

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