Spain’s authorities probing ‘terror’ motive in church machete assaults that left 1 lifeless, others injured

A person wielding a machete killed a church upkeep employee and injured a number of others – together with a priest – at two churches in southern Spain Wednesday, and authorities are wanting into doable terror motives. 

The horror unfolded within the city of Algeciras, close to the southern tip of Spain round 7 p.m. An armed man entered the San Isidro church and assaulted a priest, who was significantly injured, Spain’s interior ministry mentioned. 

Police work next to the body of a man killed in Algeciras, southern Spain, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023. 

Police work subsequent to the physique of a person killed in Algeciras, southern Spain, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023.  (Nono Rico/Europa Press through AP)

The assailant went to a second church, the Nuestra Señora de La Palma – a five-minute stroll away – and continued his rampage, assaulting a church upkeep employee. The employee ran exterior the place the attacker dealt him the mortal wounds in a public sq., the ministry mentioned. 

Native media reported that not less than three different individuals have been injured.

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City officers recognized the employee as Diego Valencia and the wounded priest as Antonio Rodríguez. The city corridor mentioned he was hospitalized and in steady situation.

The suspect was arrested and is within the custody of Spain’s Nationwide Police. The ministry didn’t establish him, however native media reported that the assailant was a 25-year-old Moroccan. 

People gather next to a funeral vehicle at the scene of a stabbing incident at a church in Algeciras, Spain January 25, 2023 in this screen grab from a video.

Individuals collect subsequent to a funeral car on the scene of a stabbing incident at a church in Algeciras, Spain January 25, 2023 on this display seize from a video. (FORTA/through REUTERS)

Video footage obtained by Reuters reveals two officers escorting a person in a hooded sweatshirt and handcuffs via a police station. 

Spain’s Nationwide Courtroom mentioned a decide has opened an investigation right into a doable act of terrorism. Police are investigating the incident, the inside ministry mentioned, to find out the “nature of the assault.” It provided no additional element on the attacker’s doable motive. 

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“I need to categorical my sincerest condolences for the households of the [church maintenance worker] slain within the horrible assault in Algeciras,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez wrote on Twitter. “I want the injured a swift restoration.”

The city corridor declared a day of mourning when flags will fly at half-staff.

“We’re all shocked by these acts, which have crammed us with ache,” Mayor José Landaluce mentioned. “Algeciras has at all times been a metropolis the place harmony and tolerance reign, regardless of incidents like this that create a picture that doesn’t correspond to actuality.”

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Algeciras rests throughout from a bay from Gibraltar and is residence to an necessary port with ferry connections to northern Africa.

The Related Press contributed to this report.  

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