Image: Youths attack school in Sydney
Paul Miller  /  EPA
A school girl, right, from Merrylands Highschool leaves the ground with a woman believed to be her mother following an attack by five youths storming the school.
updated 4/7/2008 4:25:26 AM ET 2008-04-07T08:25:26

Five teenagers brandishing baseball bats and a machete rampaged through a school in Sydney on Monday, smashing every window they passed and slightly injuring 19 people, police said.

The five, aged 14 to 16, were arrested after the attack in suburban Merrylands High School and are likely to be charged with assault and malicious damage, police Detective Inspector Jim Stewart said.

The offenses have penalties of up to seven years in prison.

One teacher was treated at a hospital after being hit on the head with a bat when he tried to stop the attackers, and 18 students were treated for cuts from broken glass other minor injuries, Stewart said.

“It beggars belief they would attempt this kind of activity against innocent students,” Stewart said of the attackers.

Police were questioning the suspects — who were not identified because they are minors — about the reasons for the attack.

Attack occurred during assembly
The rampage occurred as hundreds of students attended a routine assembly in an outdoor area of the school about 9 a.m. As the attackers moved in, teachers rushed the students back to class, where they sought refuge behind locked doors or under desks.

Worried parents rushed to the school after news of the attack was broadcast.

Stewart said the attackers defied teachers who tried to stop them, but did not challenge police when they arrived, and surrendered their weapons without a struggle.

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