At least one dead and several injured in machete attack on churches in southern Spain

  • Machete-wielding man attacks two churches in Spain
  • Leaves at least one dead, several injured
  • The High Court is investigating a case labeled as ‘terrorism’

MADRID, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Spanish authorities said they were investigating what they called a “terrorist” incident after a machete-wielding man attacked several people at two churches in the city port of Algeciras, killing at least one person.

The man attacked clergy at two different churches — San Isidro and Nuestra Señora de La Palma, about 300 meters (1,000 feet) apart — just after 8 p.m. Wednesday night in downtown Algeciras, a said a city spokesperson. A source at the Madrid High Court said the incident was being investigated as terrorism.

Police say the attacker has been arrested and a police source shared footage showing two officers escorting a man in a hooded sports top in handcuffs through a police station. Police did not release details of his name or nationality. Local media, including the El Pais newspaper, said it was a 25-year-old Moroccan.

The man who was killed is Diego Valencia, sexton of the Nuestra Senora de La Palma church, while the senior parish priest of the parish church of San Isidro, Antonio Rodriguez, was among the injured and is in serious condition. , said the spokesman for the city of Algeciras. . . . .

An unknown number of other people were also injured. The El Mundo newspaper reported that four people were injured in the attack.

Police say the suspect first entered the San Isidro church and attacked Rodriguez. A statement from the Salesians of Algeciras said Rodriguez, 74, was celebrating the Eucharist when he was attacked.

The assailant then went to the Nuestra Señora de La Palma church where he damaged property before attacking Valencia, who fled the church but was pursued by the suspect, who inflicted other fatal injuries outside, police said in a statement.

The parish priest of Nuestra Señora de La Palma, Juan Jose Marina, told broadcaster SER that the suspect went straight to Valencia after the mass was over, suggesting he might have believed Valencia was the priest.

“Maybe this death was meant for me and she found it instead,” Marina said in tears.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed his condolences to the victims of the “terrible attack” on his Twitter account, while the Secretary General of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, Francisco Garcia, expressed his “great pain” on hearing the news.

“These are sad moments of suffering, we are united by the pain of the families of the victims and for the diocese of Cadiz,” he said on Twitter.

Algeciras Mayor Jose Ignacio Landaluce declared a day of mourning in the city on Thursday and a rally outside the Church of Our Lady of the Palm at noon.

Earlier Wednesday, two people were killed and several others injured when a 33-year-old stateless Palestinian attacked them with a knife on a regional train traveling between Kiel and Hamburg in northern Germany, authorities said.

Reporting by David Latona, Belén Carreño and Aislinn Laing; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

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