Spanish authorities have said that they are investigating a “terrorist” attack in which a machete-wielding attacker attacked two churches in Algeciras’ southern port city. At least one person was killed.
A man attacked two churches 1,000 feet apart, just after 8pm on Wednesday night (25 January) in downtown Algeciras. According to a source from Madrid’s High Court, the incident is being investigated as terrorist.
According to police, the attacker was arrested. A police source shared footage of two officers carrying a man wearing a hooded sports shirt and handcuffs through a station. The police have not provided any details about the man’s name or nationality. El Pais newspaper reported that he was a Moroccan 25-year-old.
Diego Valencia was the victim of the attack. He was a sacristan at Nuestra Senora de La Palma’s church. Antonio Rodriguez, titular priest of San Isidro parish, was also among those injured and is currently in serious condition.
An unknown number of other people were also hurt. El Mundo reported that the attack left at least four people injured.
According to police, the suspect entered San Isidro Church first and attacked Rodriguez. According to the Algeciras Salesians, Rodriguez was celebrating Eucharist at the time of his attack.
After destroying property, the assailant entered the Nuestra Sanora de la Palma church. Valencia fled but was pursued by the suspect who inflicted more fatal injuries outside.
Juan Jose Marina, a parish priest at Nuestra Senora de la Palma, said that the suspect ran straight for Valencia after the Mass had ended, suggesting that he may have believed Valencia to be the priest.
Marina, who was weeping, said that “possibly this death was meant to be me and it found him instead”.
Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish prime minister, expressed condolences on Twitter to the victims and Francisco Garcia, the secretary general of Spain’s Episcopal Conference, said that he was in “great pain” upon hearing the news.
He said: “These are sad and difficult times of suffering. We are united by the pains of the victims’ families, and for the Cadiz Diocesan Church.”
Jose Ignacio Landaluce declared Thursday (26 January) a day of mourning in Algeciras. There was also be a rally at Nuestra Senora de La Palma at noon.
Authorities said that two people were murdered and many others were injured by a 33-year old stateless Palestinian man who attacked them on a train traveling between Kiel and Hamburg in northern Germany.
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