A man wielding a machete killed a sexton and injured a priest in attacks on two churches in the city of Algeciras on Wednesday before being arrested, Spain’s Interior Ministry said, which authorities are investigating as a possible act of terrorism.
The suspect was arrested in the southern city and is being held by the Spanish National Police. The ministry has not identified him.
The attack began around 7 p.m. when the gunman went into San Isidro church and attacked a seriously injured priest, the ministry said.
The assailant then proceeded to a second church, Nuestra Señora de La Palma – a five-minute walk away – where he entered and continued his killing spree, attacking the sexton. The sacristan whose job it is to look after the church and its upkeep. fled outside where the attacker inflicted the fatal wounds on him in a public square, the ministry said.
Algeciras City Hall said the sexton’s name was Diego Valencia and he identified the wounded priest as Antonio Rodríguez. City Hall said he was hospitalized and in stable condition.
Local media reported that at least three other people were injured.
The Spanish National Court of Justice announced that a judge had initiated investigations into a possible terrorist attack.
Police are investigating the incident, the Home Office said, to determine the “nature of the attack”. It did not provide any further details on the attacker’s possible motive.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez joined the condolences.
“I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families of the sexton who was killed in the horrific attack in Algeciras,” Sánchez wrote on Twitter. “I wish the injured a speedy recovery.”
The Secretary General of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, Francisco García, wrote on Twitter: “It is with great pain that I received the news of the incident in Algeciras.”
“These are sad moments of suffering, we are united by the pain of the victims’ families and for the Diocese of Cadiz,” he added.
Algeciras is near the southern tip of Spain, across a bay from Gibraltar. Here is an important port with ferry connections to North Africa.
City Hall has declared a day of mourning, with flags flying at half-mast.
“We are all stunned by these acts that have filled us with pain,” said Mayor José Landaluce. “Algeciras has always been a city of harmony and tolerance, despite incidents like this that create an image that does not correspond to reality.”
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/machete-attack-church-spain-sexton-killed-priest-injured-diego-valencia-antonio-rodriguez/ 1 dead and priests injured in machete attacks on Spanish churches