One dead in machete attack on Spain churches

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 26 2023 11:08 AM | Updated as of Jan 26 2023 11:51 AM

Members of the Spanish National Police stand next to a corpse in Algeciras, southern Spain, Jan. 25, 2023. A. Carrasco Ragel, EPA-EFE
Members of the Spanish National Police stand next to a corpse in Algeciras, southern Spain, Jan. 25, 2023. A. Carrasco Ragel, EPA-EFE

MADRID — A church official was killed and a priest seriously wounded late Wednesday when a man wielding a machete stormed two churches in southern Spain, the government said. 

Prosecutors immediately opened a terror probe into the attack in the southern port city of Algeciras in Spain's Andalusia region. 

"Just after 7:00 p.m. this evening (2 a.m. Thursday in Manila), a man entered the church of San Isidro in Algeciras, where, armed with a machete, he attacked the priest, leaving him seriously wounded," an interior ministry statement said. 

"Subsequently, he entered the church of Nuestra Senora de La Palma in which, after causing damages, he attacked the verger. The verger managed to get out of the church but was caught by the attacker outside and sustained mortal injuries," it said. 

"Moments later, (the assailant) was disarmed and arrested and is currently in police custody." 

A police source told AFP the assailant was wearing a long robe and had "shouted something" as he carried out the attack. 

Eyewitnesses at Nuestra Senora de La Palma told local media that a man ran into the building at around 7:30 p.m. just as they were finishing the Eucharist service. They said he was shouting and had started to throw icons, crosses and candles to the floor.

Prosecutors moved quickly to open a terror probe which is being led by a judge from the Audiencia Nacional, Spain's top criminal court which handles terror-related cases, sources at the public prosecutor's office said without giving further details. 

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