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Church Attacks, Emergencies & Scares


Title: Terror Alert: Suspicious Devices 'Intended To Do Harm' Against US Synagogues
Date:
October 29, 2010
Source:
Telegraph

Abstract: A series of explosive packages found in Britain and Dubai were "intended to do harm" against American religious centres by al-Qaeda in a new mail bomb plot, authorities said.

The packages were found on an American-registered cargo plane at East Midlands airport in England, en route from Yemen to Chicago, via Cologne in Germany, and on aircraft in Dubai which had also come from Yemen.

In a live national address Barack Obama, the US President, said the devices were destined for synagogues in Chicago. Jewish organisations and synagogues in Britain have been placed on high alert.

Mr Obama confirmed that both packages contained explosives. He said it was a "credible terrorist threat against our country".

"An initial examination of those packages has determined that they do apparently contain explosive material," he said.

The two "identified two suspicious packages" were bound for "two places of Jewish worship in Chicago".


J ohn Brennan, Mr Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said the "birdbox" packages were "designed to do harm".

"Clearly from this initial analysis the materials that were found in the device that was uncovered were intended to do harm," he told reporters at the White House.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, which is based in Yemen, "continues to plan attacks on our homeland, our citizens and our friends and allies", Mr Obama said.

He said he had instructed American security agencies to take "whatever steps necessary to protect our citizens from attack."

"We will continue to pursue additional protective measures for as long as it takes to ensure the safety and security of our citizens," Mr Obama said.

Mr Obama said Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president of Yemen, had pledged his government's support in efforts to root out terrorist plots in the country.

"The events of the past 24 hours underscores the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism," Mr Obama said. "We will not waiver in our resolve to defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates."

John Brennan, President Obama's senior terror advisor, confirmed that authorities were looking at other packages but would not confirm if the number totalled 15.

It came after U.S. intelligence officials warned last month that terrorists wanted to mail chemical and biological materials as part of its war on America.

Homeland Security Department bulletin, issued on the September 23, said the government had credible information that terrorists were interested in carrying out an attack on the U.S. and other Western countries using post.

Late on Friday, a commercial passenger flight bound for New York's John F. Kennedy Airport was being escorted by two US military fighter jets. The Emirates EK201 flight orginiated from the Dubai.

Scotland Yard said the package found in Britain was removed for further testing. It was claimed it contained a toner cartridge for a Hewlett Packard printer, covered in white powder and with wires protruding from it.

It was found at East Midlands, one of Britain's biggest cargo hubs near Birmingham, during screening of cargo at the airport.

It was claimed that security sources in the Middle East had tipped off the intelligence services about packages emanating from Yemen, now regarded as one of the hot-beds of al-Qaeda terrorist activities.

Officials said the "explosive device" in Dubai was found in a courier company's regional hub and originated in a shipment from Yemen.

As a result of the terror alert, all direct flights between Britain and Yemen have been suspended, Theresa May, the Home Secretary said. The US Department of Homeland Security also increased aviation security measures.

"We are urgently considering what steps need to be put in place regarding security of freight originating from Yemen. For security reasons there are currently no direct flights from Yemen to the UK," Ms May said.

"At this stage there is nothing to suggest that any location in the UK was being targeted."

Mr Obama said he was told late on Thursday night of a "potential terrorist threat" surrounding suspicious packages on the aircraft. He said the Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has vowed "full cooperation".

Fedex, the world’s largest cargo airline, confirmed that the suspicious package seized at its Dubai facility originated in Yemen. It had suspended all shipments, originating from Yemen, a spokesman added.

The Emirates flight 201, from Dubai, was carrying a package from Yemen, officials said. It is due to land shortly will be met by U.S. law enforcement authorities. Authorities played down suggestions that a device was on board the aircraft.

"Out of an abundance of caution, the diverted two Canadian CF-18s to track a civilian aircraft that was determined to be an aircraft of interest as it flew into and over Canadian airspace," the US-Canadian military agency North American Aerospace Defense Command said in a statement.

"The civilian aircraft was passed to two US F-15s as it transited into US airspace and its ultimate destination at JFK airport."

It landed without incident. Later senior UAE official said the flight had no cargo from Yemen.

Earlier, officials investigated reports of several packages on aircraft in the eastern United States cities of Philadelphia and Newark, New Jersey but found no explosives were found.

The FBI said it did not believe an attack was imminent, a spokesman said.

"Intelligence and law enforcement agencies discovered potential suspicious packages on two planes in transit to the United States," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

"Authorities were able to identify and examine two suspicious packages, one in East Midlands and one in Dubai. Both of these packages originated from Yemen."

Mr Gibbs said that, as a precaution, extra security measures were taken regarding other cargo planes at Newark and Philadelphia international airports in the United States.

"The President was notified of a potential terrorist threat on Thursday night at 10:35, by John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counter-terrorism," he said.

The Department of Homeland Security urged people to be vigilant in light of the alert.

"As a precaution, DHS has taken a number of steps to enhance security. Some of these security measures will be visible while others will not,” a spokesman said.

"The public may recognise specific enhancements including heightened cargo screening and additional security at airports.

"Passengers should continue to expect an unpredictable mix of security layers that include explosives trace detection, advanced imaging technology, canine teams and pat downs, among others.”

He added: "As always, we remind the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement."

Ross Rice, spokesman for the FBI's Chicago office, said: "There have been no threats made or received indicating that anyone or any location in Chicago is at risk.

"The two suspicious packages did not contain explosives."

He would not say whether the packages were addressed to Jewish synagogues or another type of religious institution.

"Since two of the suspicious packages that were intercepted were addressed to religious institutions in Chicago, all churches, synagogues and mosques in the Chicago area should be vigilant for any unsolicited or unexpected packages, especially those originating from overseas locations," he added.

Earlier, parts of East Midlands airport were sealed off following the discovery of the suspicious package with the security cordon lifted late on Friday.

Several aircraft, including a United Parcel Service (UPS) jet in Philadelphia, were moved to a remote location so law enforcement officials could investigate.

An employee who worked in one of the buildings at East Midlands Airport praised the police operation.

He said: "I work in one of the buildings. Nothing has been confirmed.

"Apparently a bomb was found about 10am after the first one from early hours was deemed safe.

"DHL, Royal Mail and UPS were evacuated straight away to the Travelodge. Other buildings where evacuated after 1pm.

"The police are doing a brilliant job of keeping everybody safe. No-one is allowed down the roads."

A Scotland Yard spokesman said that the packages were seized for further testing.

“Cargo removed from the plane was examined,” a Scotland Yard spokesman said.

“Further tests were carried out. Following this a number of items have been sent for additional scientific examination.

“(We) can confirm that explosives officers attended the airport. At this stage there is nothing to suggest that any location was being targeted in the UK.”

Ray Kelly, the New York police commissioner, disclosed that authorities had removed a package from a UPS truck in Brooklyn, tested it for possible explosives and found it not to be dangerous.

The package was an envelope that came from Yemen, appeared to contain bank receipts, and was addressed to the JP Morgan Chase bank in Brooklyn, he added. It arrived on a plane that landed at John F Kennedy International Airport.

A BAA spokesman said: "There are no problems at any of our airports."

BAA runs Stansted, Southampton, Heathrow, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh airports.

The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago said: "We were notified this morning that synagogues should be on alert and we are taking appropriate precautions and are advising local synagogues to do likewise."v

A spokesman for the Community Security Trust (CST), which deals with security in Jewish buildings, said: "The Jewish community in Britain has been on a high state of security alert for some considerable time now, precisely because of the current threat levels.

"This specific alert today, plus the recent alerts over the last month or so is the reason why we've been on significant security alert for some while."

The CST is in constant contact with local police about security threats, he added.

In New York, shares in FedEx fell more than one percent on the news while UPS saw its share price fall 0.3 percent (Telegraph, 2010).

Title:
Suicide Bomb Kills 2 At Nigerian Church
Date:
September 23, 2012
Source:
CNN

Abstract: At least two people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a church in northern Nigeria Sunday, officials said.

In addition to the bomber, a woman and child were among the dead, the National Emergency Management Agency said. At least 22 people were injured in the blast, which occurred in the town of Bauchi.

A witness said the car detonated near a gate at St. John's Catholic Church as congregants were leaving a Sunday service.

Authorities did not immediately say who was responsible for the attack.

In June, the Boko Haram militant Islamist group claimed responsibility for a series of church bombings that killed dozens.

The group, whose name means "Western education is forbidden," has referred to itself as the "Nigerian Taliban." It seeks to overthrow the government and replace it with a regime based on Islamic law (CNN, 2012).

Title:
Child Killed In Explosive Attack On Church In Kenya
Date: September 30, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: The acting police chief in Kenya's capital says an explosive device set off in a Sunday school class killed one child and seriously wounded three.

Moses Ombati said he suspects sympathizers with the Somali militant group al-Shabab were behind the attack at an Anglican church in Nairobi.

Kenya has seen a series of attacks on churches ever since Kenyan forces moved into Somalia to fight al-Shabab last year. Kenyan forces kicked the rebels out of their last stronghold, Kismayo, on Friday.

Grenades are often used in the attacks; Ombati is describing the cause of Sunday's attack as an explosive device.

One church member, Julius Macharia Maina, brought four children to the hospital. Onechild's head was cut open; the others had bruises. Maina described the attack "emotional and very scary" (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Driver, 73, Strikes Student, Crashes Into Church
Date: October 4, 2012
Source:
CBS Denver

Abstract: A 73-year-old woman faces drunk driving charges – after crashing while on her way to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

Boulder police say Brenda Geers hit an 18-year-old college student as she crashed into the St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church on Colorado Avenue.

“We just express our sorrow for the victim and his family. We are also concerned about the driver,” said St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church Rev. Mary Kate Rejouis.

Officers said she first collided with a food truck in the parking lot and then hit Eric Anderson at a table, then smashed into the church.

“His body was thrown or pushed by the vehicle from here over close to the building. So that’s 25 or 30 feet,” said Rejouis.
“Saw an SUV cross the front of the windsheild and take out the table right behind me,” said KC Slager, who owns the food truck Geers crashed into. “He ended up wrapped up with the car right around the railing and by that tree.”

Geer faces charges of vehicular assault and DUI after police said Geers failed a sobriety test.

Anderson was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Slager said Geers seemed disoriented after the crash.

“She looked at me very distraught, very unaware of what was going on. Not sure if she bumped her head or if she had substance abuse going on or not,” said Slager.

“Went to the hospital yesterday, spoke to him, spoke to his parents. That’s a phone call that every parent fears and no one ever wants to receive. He will be okay,” said Rejouis.

“He’s lucky he lived through this for sure,” said Slager.

Geers is scheduled to appear in court next week (CBS Denver, 2012).

Title: 70-Year-Old Tampa Woman Assaulted Inside Church Sanctuary
Date:
October 21, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract:
A 70-year-old woman affiliated with a Tampa church was sexually assaulted inside the building's sanctuary, MyFoxTampaBay reported. 

According to investigators, the suspect in the case told the woman he wanted to go inside the Living Word Fellowship in order to get a closer look at the sanctuary. Once he was inside, he pushed the victim down in a chair, covered her mouth and sexually assaulted her. 

Police have not yet arrested the suspect, who they say is a black male in his late 20s or early 30s, MyFoxTampaBay reported (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Accused Church Gunman In Atlanta Had Been Charged In 2001 Mosque Shooting In Maryland
Date:
October 25, 2012
Source:
Fox News


Abstract:
The man accused of killing a volunteer at an Atlanta megachurch was previously charged with shooting a man at a Maryland mosque.

Police documents say Floyd Palmer was working security at a Baltimore mosque in June 2001 when he shot another man working security. The initial police report did not say why Palmer shot the man in the back. Palmer tried to fire the gun again, but it jammed.

Palmer was committed to a psychiatric hospital in 2004 after pleading not criminally responsible. Court records show he was released the next year.

Authorities say Palmer killed 39-year-old Greg McDowell on Wednesday when he walked into a chapel at World Changers Church International and opened fire.

He was arrested and is being held in jail (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Church Sign Defaced With Anti-Romney Message
Date:
October 27, 2012
Source:
WISH TV


Abstract:
A viewer used Report !t to send our sister station WANE pictures of the sign in front of the South Broadway Church of Christ in Huntington on Friday.

One side of the sign read “Christ voted Democrat” and the other read “Romney hates women”.

Luke Jackson, the pastor of the church, said the statements on the sign were vandalism and that the authorities had been contacted.

"I had about eight missed calls from church members and people from the community," Jackson said.

He said the sign must have been changed late Thursday night, but not by anyone associated with the church. The sign was still up Friday morning, but Jackson said an elder with the church came in and changed it.

Jackson said the person responsible used letters that were already on the marquee, and stole the remanding letters that were used Thursday.

"One community member in particular had said, 'I don't believe a church should be promoting anything like that in a political way,' and I agreed 100 percent," he said.

On one part of the sign, it says "Jesus said forgive". Jackson said that's in reference to he and the church forgiving the person responsible for changing the sign.

"I would like for them to come and visit us on Sunday, we'll love to have them," said Jackson (WISH TV, 2012).

Title: Suicide Bomber Kills 7 In Nigerian Church
Date:
October 29, 2012
Source:
CNN

Abstract:
A suicide bombing killed seven people and wounded more than 100 others Sunday at a Catholic church in Nigeria, an emergency management official said.

The bomber crashed an explosives-filled jeep into the St. Rita Church in the central Nigerian town of Kaduna, killing himself and seven others at the scene, said Musa Ilallah, a regional coordinator for the national emergency management agency.

The injured were in critical condition and were taken to four hospitals in the region, Ilallah said.

As emergency workers -- including personnel from the Red Cross and civil defense corps -- responded to the explosion, "angry Christian youth started beating our staff and as a result broke the side glass of our ambulance that was on the scene to provide service," he said.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the attack, saying it was "barbaric, cruel and uncalled for."

Scores of people have been killed in church bombings in the country in recent years.

The Boko Haram militant Islamist group has previously claimed responsibility for church bombings that killed dozens.

"Our efforts to deal with all acts of terror and violence would only be redoubled even as the security agencies continue to receive all the support they need from government to reverse this unfortunate and unacceptable trend that threatens the peace and stability of our nation," Jonathan said in a statement (CNN, 2012).

Title: Police: Fort Worth-Area Pastor Dies After Being Assaulted By Driver Who Crashed Into Church
Date:
October 29, 2012
Source:
Fox News


Abstract:
A pastor in suburban Fort Worth was killed Monday by an attacker who rammed a car into a church wall, chased the pastor and beat him with an electric guitar, police said.

Forest Hill police did not say why the unidentified suspect attacked the Rev. Danny Kirk Sr., the founding pastor of Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church.

The suspect, who police subdued by using a Taser, died a short time after being taken into custody.

Forest Hill Police Chief Dan Dennis said the suspect drove his car into a church wall before noon Monday, apparently on purpose. The suspect got out of the car and began to attack the pastor in the parking lot before chasing him into the church, Dennis said. The church secretary hid and called 911, Dennis said.

Police arrived to find the suspect assaulting Kirk with an electric guitar that they believe was already inside the church, Dennis said. An officer used a Taser on the suspect, handcuffed him and put him in the back of a patrol car.

By then, Kirk had died, Dennis said. A maintenance worker who tried to help Kirk was injured and taken to an area hospital. His condition was unknown.

Dennis said the suspect was found unresponsive shortly after being detained and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Kirk fought back during the attack, Dennis said, but it's unclear if that played any role in the suspect's death. An autopsy was being performed on the suspect to determine the cause of death.

Dennis said he didn't know if the suspect knew Kirk, attended the church or why he might have attacked the minister.

Hours after the incident, hundreds of people remained outside the church, where crime-scene tape was wrapped around a small statue of Jesus near the wrecked car. Some hugged each other and cried, while others recalled Kirk as a dedicated minister who also had a bubbly personality and knew the names of the 800 church members.

"He really was concerned about our souls," Montoya McNeil, a member for eight years, said as she wiped away tears. "You looked forward to being here. ... I'm not asking God why, because I know where he (Kirk) is, but we won't get those big bear hugs and those great sermons anymore."

According to former Forest Hill Mayor James Gosey, Kirk started the church years ago in a strip mall before building the red-brick church.

Kirk was also an unofficial volunteer chaplain who occasionally counseled members of a local high school football team, Fort Worth school district spokesman Clint Bond said.

"Our hearts are heavy right now," said Reginald Wilson, an associate minister at the church (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Mega Church Pastor Beaten To Death With Electric Guitar By Man Who Rammed Car Into Church
Date:
October 29, 2012
Source:
Daily Mail


Abstract:
A North Texas congregation is reeling after an attacker rammed a car into a church wall, chased the pastor, and beat him to death with an electric guitar.

Police told reporters they didn't know why the unidentified suspect attacked Rev. Danny Kirk Sr., founding pastor of the Greater Sweethome MIssionary Baptist Church.

In a harrowing 911 call an unidentified church secretary said that some staff tried to fight him off but that  Kirk was in desperate need of an ambulance.

'My pastor's bleeding, he's been attacked,' the worker tells dispatchers while locked in her office.'I'm not going out there. I need real help fast. Send policeman. I do need an ambulance also.'

'Does your pastor know him?' the dispatcher asked.

'I have no idea.'

The unidentified assailant apparently drove his car into the church wall on purpose shortly before noon.

He then began to attack Kirk in the parking lot before chasing him into the church, according to Forest Hill Police Chief Dan Dennis.

When police arrived they found the suspect striking Kirk with an electric guitar they believe was already in the church.

When police arrived they had to use a Taser to subdue the man, handcuffed him, and locked him in their patrol car.

Sadly it was too late for Kirk who had already died.

A maintenance worker who tried to help Kirk was also injured and taken to an area hospital but his condition is unknown.

The assailant himself  was found unresponsive shortly after being taken into custody and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Dennis told reporters police did not yet know if the suspect knew Kirk, attended the church, or what his motives were for attacking the pastor.

For hours after the shocking attack hundreds gathered outside the church, gathering around the crime-scene tape wrapped around a small statue of Jesus near the wrecked car.

Many mourned Kirk as a dedicated minister with a cheerful personality who knew the names of each of his hundreds of church members.

'He really was concerned about our souls,' recalled Montoya McNeil, a member for eight years. 'You looked forward to being here... I'm not asking God why, because I know where he is, but we won't get those big bear hugs and those great sermons anymore.'

Kirk started the congregation years ago in a strip mall before growing the ranks so large he needed to build a red-brick church.

He was also an unofficial volunteer chaplain who occasionally counseled members of the local high school football team.

'Our hearts are heavy right now,' said Reginald Wilson, an associate minister at the church (Daily Mail, 2012).

Title: Man With Ammo Detained At Sikh Temple
Date:
November 2, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract:
A police report says Oak Creek officers detained a man at the Sikh temple where six people were killed in August and found he had ammunition and notebook references to a mass shooting.

Sikh members summoned police last Sunday when the man visited the temple with a backpack. The man told officers he wanted to pray with the Sikhs and was writing a book.

Officers searched the man's backpack and found duct tape, zip ties, crime scene tape and a notebook with references to the mass shooting in Aurora, Colo. The police report says several boxes of ammunition and an empty gun case were found in his car.

Temple spokesman Kulwant Singh Dhaliwal told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://tinyurl.com/b3jhpdl ) police said the man also had $4,000 in cash from the sale of two guns. The man was questioned, but not arrested (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Taliban Claim Responsibility For Fatal Pakistan Blast
Date:
November 24, 2012
Source:
CNN


Abstract:
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility Saturday for a blast that killed seven people, including three children, during a Shiite religious procession.

The bomb was planted in a garbage container in the central Pakistani city of Dera Ismail Khan and exploded as the last section of the procession, in which children were following adults, was passing by, police spokesman Khalid Sohail said.

Eighteen people, including five children and two police officials, were wounded in the attack.

The spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, Ihsanullah Ihsan, said the group would continue "its mission" and attack Shiite Ashura processions across Pakistan.

Pakistan is on high alert because of the two-day high holy Shiite holiday of Ashura, in which believers mourn the death of a key imam from the seventh century.

Shia Islam is a minority sect in the mainly Sunni Muslim country, and its members face persecution from extremists. The Pakistani Taliban took responsibility for similar attacks earlier this week.

The government increased security for the Ashura observance, which ends Saturday.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik temporarily blocked cell phone services in cities, where gathered intelligence indicated the possibility of bombs detonated by cell phone. He also banned motor bikes, often used to conceal bombs, for two days in some cities.

Malik said the safeguards were specifically meant to protect Shiites.

At least 31 people were killed and 68 wounded in multiple bomb attacks Wednesday despite heightened security.

A Tehrik-i-Taliban spokesman said those attacks targeted Shiites, who the terrorists believe denigrate the Prophet Mohammed with their religious observance.

Ashura commemorates the death of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson, killed in the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD. The battle and subsequent death of Imam Hussein caused the split between Shiite and Sunni Muslims (CNN, 2012).

Title: Police: Man Shot Ex-Wife As She Played Organ At Church
Date:
December 3, 2012
Source:
Washington Times

Abstract: Police say an elementary school music teacher shot his ex-wife while she played the organ during a Sunday church service, then returned moments later to shoot her again and ensure she was dead before congregants stopped and grabbed him.

Those details are contained in a criminal complaint filed Monday against 52-year-old Gregory Eldred, of Coudersport.

He's jailed without bond on first-degree murder and other charges stemming from the shooting at the First United Presbyterian Church of Coudersport, about 140 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

That's where Eldred's ex-wife, 53-year-old Darlene Sitler, was playing the organ when she was shot about 20 minutes into the service.

Court papers indicate the pastor and two other worshippers confronted and stopped Eldred, who allegedly threatened to shoot them, but didn't (Washington Times, 2012).

Title: Man Arrested In Bleach Attack On NYC Rabbi Who Exposes Child Abuse Claims
Date:
December 12, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: A man has been arrested on charges he threw bleach into the face of a New York City rabbi who publicizes claims of child sexual abuse in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

Police say Meilech Schnitzler turned himself in on Wednesday and was arrested on charges of felony assault, menacing and criminal possession of a weapon. A woman who answered the phone at his home says he's not going to speak to anyone.

Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg told The New York Timeshttp://global.fncstatic.com/static/v/all/img/external-link.png a man he recognized tossed the liquid in his face as he walked in Brooklyn's Williamsburg section on Tuesday.

Police say the two were involved in an "ongoing dispute."

Rosenberg runs a website that publicizes child sexual abuse victims in the Satmar Hasidic community (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Bomb Threat Adds Alarm To Grief At Connecticut Church
Date:
December 16, 2012
Source:
Reuters

Abstract: What began as a peaceful and solemn remembrance for victims of the Connecticut shooting massacre was shattered on Sunday by a telephoned bomb threat that forced the evacuation of a Roman Catholic church, deepening the distress of a town in mourning.

The Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church has been a sanctuary for people disturbed by the tragedy in the heavily Catholic town of Newtown, a wealthy suburb surrounded by wooded hills some 80 miles from New York City.

Eight of the funerals for the shooting victims have been scheduled at Saint Rose.

On the direction of police, Monsignor Robert Weiss asked people at the noon Mass service to quickly evacuate on Sunday, two days after the shooting.

The woman sitting next to Gary Zigman collapsed into sobs.

"It was a weirdo add-on to an already horrific weekend," said Zigman, a parishioner whose three grown children attended Sandy Hook, the elementary school where the shooting occurred. "It was too much."

Outside, parishioners stood in the cold, surrounded by journalists and police vehicles. Seven men from a SWAT team emerged from an armored vehicle in fatigues and body armor, carrying rifles and shields.

They searched the church and rectory, finding it was safe to re-enter, though the building would remain closed for the rest of the day, an officer at the scene said.

Police on Sunday also warned of threats and false representations on social media sites, and said they were investigating for possible criminal violations.

The church is about a mile from the Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and six adults were massacred, after which the shooter then took his own life.

From 7 a.m. on, the Masses were all standing room only. The pews were packed tight and the aisles were so thick with mourners they were nearly impassable.

Parishioners occasionally broke into sobs.

Weiss said he has been meeting with families since the day of the shooting, fielding many questions. "And," he said, "I don't have any answers" (Reuters, 2012).

Title: 12 Killed In Attacks On Two Churches In Nigeria
Date:
December 26, 2012
Source:
CNN

Abstract: At least 12 people died in northern Nigeria when attackers raided two churches during Christmas Eve services, police said.

One assault occurred at the Church of Christ in Nations in Postikum, in Yobe province. Gunmen attacked worshipers during prayer, killing six people, including the pastor, and setting the building on fire

Worshipers also were attacked at the First Baptist Church in Maiduguri, in Borno state. A deacon and five church members were killed.

They were the latest strikes against Christians in the region. More than 30 people died in a wave of Christmas Day attacks in the north last year, blamed on Boko Haram, a militant group that has targeted Christians and Muslims it considered insufficiently Islamist.

Pope Benedict XVI referred to the northern Nigerian violence in his traditional Christmas message from Vatican City on Tuesday.

"Savage acts of terrorism" in the region, he said, "continue to reap victims, particularly among Christians."

In October, a report from Human Rights Watch also addressed violence in northern Nigeria, particularly from Boko Haram.

"Suspected members of the group have bombed or opened fire on worshipers in at least 18 churches across eight northern and central states since 2010. In Maiduguri, the group also forced Christian men to convert to Islam on penalty of death," it said.

It is not immediately known whether the group was behind the latest attacks.

The Christmas attacks came as families whose kin died in last year's killings delivered graveside prayers for a peaceful holiday period. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan issued a statement promising better days next year, including better security.

"Sometimes, challenges make people doubt the sincerity of government, but I am confident that God knows everything," he said Sunday.

But residents told CNN that despite assurances of security, they have been attacked again (CNN, 2012).

Title: Man Allegedly Strips Naked In Connecticut Church
Date:
January 3, 2013
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: A Brooklyn man who police say stripped naked in a church in the presence of congregants and school children is being evaluated at an eastern Connecticut hospital.

Gary Pohronezny has been charged with disorderly conduct, risk of injury to minors and interfering with police related to the alleged incident at St. James Catholic Church in Killingly on Wednesday.

Police say the 41-year-old Pohronezny was taken to Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam for evaluation.

It was not known Thursday morning if he is represented by a lawyer.

Pohronezny is scheduled to appear in Danielson Superior Court on Jan. 10. (Fox News, 2013).

Title: Deadly Suicide Blast Targeting Worshipers Rips Through Pakistani City
Date:
February 1, 2013
Source:
CNN

Abstract: A suicide bomber killed at least 23 people Friday in the center of a northern Pakistan city, police and hospital officials said.

The man detonated his explosives near a marketplace in Hangu in the volatile Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan and has long been a haven for militants, including Pakistani Taliban.

He may have been targeting worshippers who were leaving midday prayer services in area where both a Sunni and a Shia mosque are located, said police spokesman Imtiaz Shah. There has been no claim of responsibility.

The attack injured 56 people, 16 critically, said hospital spokesman Dr. Nawab Hussein.

It came two days after gunmen killed seven people in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province, and a bomb blast ripped through Karachi and left two dead.

This month, 97 people have died in bombings in Balochistan, leading to protests among Shiites who complain that the government has done too little to protect them (CNN, 2013).

Title: Witnesses: Church Used By Egyptian Christians Torched In Eastern Libya
Date:
March 14, 2013
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: Witnesses say that unidentified assailants have torched a church used by Egyptian Christians in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, a week after scores were detained and reportedly abused by militias there for alleged proselytization.

Flames were seen rising from the church late Thursday, witnesses said. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning what it described as "assault."

Abdel-Salam al-Barghathi, a security official in Benghazi, said his forces stopped angry men from doing more damage to the church. He says they were angry about a protest in Cairo by Christians over the death of one of the detainees, whose family says he died of torture.

But al-Barghathi appeared to blame the Christian protesters for the violence. He said the detained Christian died of natural causes and confessed before his death (Fox News, 2013).

Title: Egyptian Church In Libya Attacked For Second Time
Date:
March 14, 2013
Source:
Egypt Independent

Abstract: The Egyptian Coptic Church in
Benghazi was attacked for the second time by unknown assailants on Thursday. No casualties were reported.

This is the third attack on an Egyptian church in Libya in recent months. A church in Misrata was attacked in December, killing two and injuring dozens.

The Foreign Ministry said it would follow up on the matter with the Libyan authorities, and assured that the church pastor had not been injured in the attack, and was taken to the Egyptian consulate residence.

Ali al-Ashiry, assistant to the foreign minister, had earlier issued a statement regarding a security vacuum that allowed Libyan militant groups to attack churches there with impunity.

Earlier in March, Libyan authorities arrested about 50 Egyptian Copts in the Benghazi on charges of proselytizing and illegally entering the country (Egypt Independent, 2013).

Title: Officials: Suicide Bomber Attacks Shiite Worshippers In Iraq's North, Kills 3 And Wounds 70
Date: March 29, 2013
Source:
Fox News

Abstract:  Iraqi police and health officials say a suicide attack against a Shiite mosque in the country's north has killed three worshippers and wounded up to 70.

Col. Najat Hassan says the bomber drove his explosive-laden car into a group of worshippers as they were leaving the mosque in the northern city of Kirkuk after Friday prayers. The city is 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad. A senior provisional health official, Sidiq Omar Rasool, confirmed the casualty figures.

Violence has ebbed sharply since the peak of Sunni-Shiite fighting that pushed the country to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

But Sunni insurgents still occasionally carry out high-profile attacks against Shiites, considering them as heretics. Sectarian and ethnic rivalries also remain threats to Iraq's long-term stability (Fox New, 2013).

Title: Shooting Reported Outside Ohio Church; Parishioner Says Man Killed After Easter Service
Date:
March 31, 2013
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: Police in northeast Ohio are investigating a shooting outside a church that a parishioner says left one man dead after an Easter service.

Ashtabula police would not immediately confirm the fatality; an officer answering the telephone would say only that authorities were investigating.

A member of the Hiawatha Church of God in Christ said the man was shot soon after Easter services ended, around 1:15 p.m. Sunday. Joan Crockett said the man knew the shooter, and that a suspect was taken into custody. She said the wounded man died.

The Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland reported that the church's pastor said congregants were leaving when they heard a gunshot.

"People pushed me into a back office and said, 'Somebody's here with a gun,'" said the Rev. David Howard Jr. "The guy was outside hollering and acting crazy."

There were no immediate reports of any other injuries.

Howard said the church has about 175 members. He said people at the church didn't know what led up to the shooting.

"It's such a tragic loss," Crockett said (Fox News, 2013).

Title: Alabama Boy, 4, Fatally Shoots Self In Chest After Attending Easter Services
Date:
April 1, 2013
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: A 4-year-old boy is dead after a shooting in Prichard.

WKRG-TVreports the child shot himself in the chest accidentally.

His parents rushed him to USA Children's and Women's Hospital, where he died.

The child and his family had just left Easter services at church and were visiting relatives when the shooting occurred.

Authorities haven't released any names (Fox News, 2013).

Title: Alabama Boy, 4, Fatally Shoots Self In Chest After Attending Easter Services
Date:
April 1, 2013
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: A 4-year-old boy is dead after a shooting in Prichard.

WKRG-TVreports the child shot himself in the chest accidentally.

His parents rushed him to USA Children's and Women's Hospital, where he died.

The child and his family had just left Easter services at church and were visiting relatives when the shooting occurred.

Authorities haven't released any names (Fox News, 2013).