Home » 1 killed and priest injured in machete attacks at Spanish churches

1 killed and priest injured in machete attacks at Spanish churches

by Mahmmod Shar

CBS News

A machete-wielding man killed a sexton and injured a priest in attacks at two churches in the city of Algeciras on Wednesday before being arrested, Spain’s interior ministry said, in what authorities are investigating as a possible act of terrorism.

The suspect was arrested in the southern city and is in the custody of Spain’s National Police. The ministry did not identify him.

The attack started around 7 p.m. when the armed man went into the San Isidro church and assaulted a priest, who was seriously injured, the ministry said.

The assailant then went to a second church, the Nuestra Señora de La Palma — a five-minute walk away — where he entered and continued his rampage, assaulting the sexton. The sexton, whose job it is to take care of the church and its maintenance. fled outside where the attacker dealt him the mortal wounds in a public square, the ministry said.

The Algeciras town hall said the sexton was named Diego Valencia and identified the wounded priest as Antonio Rodríguez. The town hall said he was hospitalized and in stable condition.

Stabbing incident at a church in Algeciras
Police officers stand guard at the scene of a stabbing incident at a church in Algeciras, Spain January 25, 2023.FORTA VIA REUTERS

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

Spain’s National Court said a judge has opened an investigation into a possible act of terrorism.

Police are investigating the incident, the interior ministry said, to determine the “nature of the attack.” It offered no further detail on the attacker’s possible motive.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez joined the outpouring of condolences.

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“I want to express my sincerest condolences for the families of the sexton slain in the terrible attack in Algeciras,” Sánchez wrote on Twitter. “I desire the injured a swift recovery.”

Francisco Garca, the secretary general of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, tweeted that he had “received the news of the incident in Algeciras with great pain.”

He continued, “These are sad times of suffering; we are bound together by the suffering of the families of the victims and for the Diocese of Cadiz.

Algeciras is situated across from a bay from Gibraltar, close to Spain’s southernmost point. An important port with ferry connections to northern Africa is located there.

Flags will fly at half-staff on this day of mourning, according to the town hall.

Mayor José Landaluce said, “These acts have left us all in shock and with pain.” Despite incidents like these that give a false impression of the city, Algeciras has always been a place where harmony and tolerance rule.

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