A man believed to be a 25-year-old Moroccan, whom witnesses say they heard yelling "Allahu akbar" and "death to Christians," has been arrested for killing one and injuring four with a machete in incidents at two separate churches in Spain on Wednesday. It is an act that a source at Madrid's High Court said is being investigated as terrorism.
Reuters News Service reported that the suspect, Yasine Kanzaa, entered churches San Isidro and Nuestra Senora de La Palma—located 1,000 feet apart—Wednesday evening in the Spanish southern port city of Algeciras.
Diego Valencia, a sacristan at the Nuestra Senora de La Palma church, was killed during one of the attacks. The titular present of the parish church of San Isidro, Antonio Rodriguez, was among the injured and is listed in serious condition, an Algeciras spokesperson said.
Police said the suspect first entered the San Isidro church and attacked Rodriguez, 74, who had been celebrating Eucharist when the attack occurred.
Francisco Garcia, secretary general of Spain's Episcopal Conference, expressed "great pain" over the attack on the two priests.
"These are sad times of suffering; we are united by the pain of the victims' families and for the Cadiz Diocese,' Reuters quoted Garcia as saying.
The mayor of Algeciras says the attacks left him and many others reeling.
"We are all stunned by these acts, which have filled us with pain," Mayor José Landaluce said. "Algeciras has always been a city where concord and tolerance reign, despite incidents like this that create an image that does not correspond to reality."
The Deccan Herald reported that an interior ministry spokesman said Kanzaa was served a deportation order in June 2022. He had "no prior criminal or terrorism convictions in Spain or allied countries" and was not under surveillance.
Shawn A. Akers is the online editor at Charisma Media.
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