Teens plotted to buy guns, attack Jewish people

FILE - Security officers stand guard outside Orthodox Assyrian church in Sydney, Australia, April 15, 2024. Four teenagers plotted to buy guns and attack Jewish people days after a bishop was stabbed in a Sydney church, according to police documents cited in news reports on Monday, April 29, 2024.
FILE - Security officers stand guard outside Orthodox Assyrian church in Sydney, Australia, April 15, 2024. Four teenagers plotted to buy guns and attack Jewish people days after a bishop was stabbed in a Sydney church, according to police documents cited in news reports on Monday, April 29, 2024. AP

MELBOURNE, Australia — Four teenagers plotted to buy guns and attack Jewish people days after a bishop was stabbed in a Sydney church, according to police documents cited in news reports on Monday, April 29, 2024.

Five teens, aged 14 to 17, were charged in a Sydney court on Thursday last week with a range of offenses including conspiring to engage in or planning a terrorist act.

Police alleged they all “adhered to a religiously motivated, violent extremist ideology” and were part of a network that included a 16-year-old boy charged with stabbing Assyrian Orthodox Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel on April 15 as a church service was being streamed online.

According to a police fact sheet tendered to the Sydney Children’s Court, two of the defendants charged last week discussed buying guns on April 19, the same day the bishop’s alleged attacker was charged, News Corp Australia newspapers reported.

Gun ownership is heavily restricted in Australia under tough national laws, but there is a black market for firearms in Sydney.

Four of the boys charged last week -- a 15-year-old, a 16-year-old and two 17-year-olds – allegedly used the encrypted messaging app Signal to plan their attack.

“I wanna die and I wanna kill ... I’m just excited ... Is your plan to get caught or die or escape?” a 17-year-old allegedly said on April 20 in a group chat.

The 16-year-old allegedly responded, “We’re gonna be planning for a while ... we prefer to escape, but whatever happens, it’s the qadr (predetermination) of Allah,” the newspapers reported.

The 15-year-old allegedly said on Signal on April 19, “I really want to target the yahood,” meaning Jewish people.

The 16-year-old allegedly said of the church attacker, “I know the bloke who done it” and “he’s my mate.”

The New South Wales Police Force media unit told The Associated Press on Monday it could not confirm the accuracy of the reports or provide a copy of the police fact sheet.

The Sydney Children’s Court did not immediately respond to a request for the document. / AP

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