Spanish authorities said they were investigating what they called a possible “terrorist” incident after a man armed with a machete attacked several people in two churches in the southern port city of Algeciras, killing at least one person. .
The man attacked the clergy of two different churches -San Isidro and Nuestra Señora de La Palma, separated by about 300 meters- shortly after eight in the afternoon (local time) on Wednesday in the center of Algeciras (south), according to reported a city spokesman. A source at the Madrid Superior Court of Justice said the incident was being investigated as terrorism.
Police said the attacker had been detained, and a police source shared footage showing two officers escorting a man wearing a hooded sports shirt and handcuffed through a police station. The agents have not provided details about his name or nationality. The local media, including the newspaper ‘El País’, said that he was a 25-year-old man.
The man who was killed was Diego Valencia, sacristan of the church of Nuestra Señora de La Palma, while the head priest of the parish church of San Isidro, Antonio Rodríguez, was among the injured and is in serious condition, the spokesman said. Municipality of Algeciras.
The number of wounded is unknown. The national newspaper ‘El Mundo’ reported that four people were injured in the attack.
Police said the suspect entered the San Isidro church first and attacked Rodríguez. According to a statement from the Salesians of Algeciras, Rodríguez, 74, was celebrating the Eucharist when he was attacked.
The assailant then entered the church of Nuestra Señora de La Palma, where he caused material damage before attacking Valencia, who fled the church but was pursued by the suspect, who inflicted further fatal injuries outside, according to reports. police in a statement.
The parish priest of Nuestra Señora de La Palma, Juan José Marina, told the national radio station ‘Cadena SER’ that the suspect went directly to Valencia after mass, suggesting that he might have believed that Valencia was the priest.
“Possibly, this death was directed at me and found him,” Marina said through tears.
The President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, expressed his condolences to the victims of the “terrible attack” on his Twitter account, while the Secretary General of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, Francisco García, spoke of his “great pain” upon learning of the News.
“These are sad moments of suffering, we are united by the pain of the relatives of the victims and for the Diocese of Cádiz,” he said on Twitter.
José Ignacio Landaluce, mayor of Algeciras, has declared a day of mourning in the city for Thursday and a rally in front of the church of Nuestra Señora de La Palma at noon.
Earlier on 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.
*With Reuters; adapted from its original in English
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