Police shoot man during sword attack on Indonesian church

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.

The suspect, who survived, was being held at a hospital where he was being treated. "We need to dig out more details and question the perpetrator", said spokesman Yulianto.

"Four people have been injured in the incident - quite seriously - but we still can not determine the perpetrator's motive", Yogyakarta police spokesman Yulianto said.

A video of the incident posted on the social media platform WhatsApp showed the suspect dressed in black standing near the altar with his sword and a bag slung over a shoulder, as others appeared to order him to stand down.

"Everybody started panicking and screaming. I was scrambling to save my wife and children", Cahyo told Agence France-Presse.

The victims included the pastor of the church, according to police officials.

Congregation member Andhi Cahyo was quoted as saying that soon after the service started, a fellow member whose head was bleeding ran into the church chased by the assailant.

The city, located about 500km south-east of Jakarta, is regarded as the cultural heart of Java, Indonesia's main island.

Extremists in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country have mounted a series of attacks against Christians and other minorities. In August 2016, a knife-wielding assailant attacked a priest, also during Sunday service, at the St Joseph Catholic church in Medan, North Sumatra.

Communal and religious tensions have been on the rise in recent years as calls by hardline groups for sharia, or Islamic law, to be implemented nationally grow louder. "Whatever the reason for this is intolerant behavior", he told reporters.

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