Australia stabbing: Police arrest teen suspected of stabbing student at University of Sydney

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A 14-year-old boy dressed in military clothing was arrested after police alleged he stabbed a 22-year-old student in the neck Tuesday at the University of Sydney.

The student was taken to hospital in a stable condition. The suspect was treated in hospital for cuts and was kept for a mental health assessment, said Mark Walton, acting assistant commissioner for the New South Wales Police.

“A motive or ideology importantly has not been determined at this time,” Walton told reporters. The New South Wales Joint Counterterrorism Committee was investigating the matter, but there was no ongoing threat to the community, Walton said.

“The ideology that may be related to this young person’s activity is unknown, but I would say it’s likely to be categorized as mixed and unclear ideology. It’s certainly not a religiously related ideology,” Walton added.

Walton said the boy had worn a “camouflage defense force uniform” and left a kitchen knife at the scene.

The boy caught a bus from the university to a nearby hospital for treatment before he was arrested, police said.

Investigators found no link between the university attack and a 16-year-old boy charged with performing a terrorist act in the stabbing of a Sydney bishop on April 15 while a church service was being streamed online. Several of his teen associates have been charged with various offences including conspiring to engage in or planning as terrorist act.

Police shot dead a 16-year-old boy who had stabbed a stranger in a parking lot in the Australian city of Perth on May 4. That boy had been involved in a deradicalization program for two years before his death, but authorities did not classify the knifing as a terrorist attack, partly because there was no continuing threat that required an elevated law enforcement response.

Walton said the boy accused of the university attack had previously come to the attention of police and other government agencies, but would not elaborate.

No decision had yet been made on what charges would be laid.

“The internet is toxic and it’s very easy for young people, especially, to self-radicalize, to move towards violence,” Walton said.

The stabbing Tuesday triggered a major police operation and a lockdown of buildings at Australia’s oldest university.

The police operation has since ended and all areas of the campus were now accessible, a university statement said.

“The safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and members of the community are our priority and we continue to work with authorities,” the statement said.

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