Spain: 1 dead in church machete attacks, terror link probed

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — A man killed a sexton and wounded a priest in an attack on two churches in the city of Algeciras on Wednesday, Spain’s interior ministry said.

The suspect was arrested in the southern city and is in the custody of the Spanish National Police. The Ministry did not specify his identity.

The attack began around 7:00 p.m. when a gunman entered the San Isidro church and attacked a priest, who was seriously injured, the ministry said.

The assailant then went to a second church, Nuestra Señora de La Palma, a five-minute walk away, where he entered and assaulted the sexton. Secton, whose duty it is to take care of the church and its maintenance. According to the ministry, the attacker was sentenced to death and fled outside.

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Algeciras City Hall identified the sexton as Diego Valencia and the injured priest as Antonio Rodriguez. The mayor’s office said he was hospitalized and is in good condition.

Local media reported that at least three other people were injured.

The National Court of Spain announced that the court has opened an investigation into a possible terrorist act.

The police are investigating the details of the incident, the Interior Ministry said, to determine the “nature of the attack”. It did not provide additional information about the attacker’s possible intentions.

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez joined in expressing his feelings.

“My deepest condolences to the families of the sextons who died in the horrific attack in Algeciras,” Sanchez tweeted. “I wish the injured a speedy recovery.”

Francisco García, secretary general of the Spanish bishops’ conference, tweeted: “I received the news of the incident in Algeciras with great sadness.”

“These moments of sad suffering bring us together in grief for the families of the victims and for the Diocese of Cádiz,” he added.

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Algeciras is located near the southern tip of Spain, across the Bay of Gibraltar. It is home to an important port with ferry connections to northern Africa.

The city hall has declared a day of mourning, during which flags will be flown at half-mast.

Mayor Jose Landalus said, “We are all shocked by these actions, which fill us with sadness.” “Algeciras has always been a city of harmony and tolerance, despite events like this that create an unreal image.”


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