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

Spain’s government probing ‘terror’ motive in church machete attacks that left 1 dead, others injured.

Spain, 1 dead, church machete attacks

Police work next to the body of a man killed in Algeciras, southern Spain, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023. Spains interior ministry says that one person has been killed and another serious injured in an attack carried out by a person with a bladed weapon at a church in the southern city of Algeciras on Wednesday. The attacker has been arrested and is in custody of Spains National Police. (Nono Rico/Europa Press via AP)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - 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, Spains interior ministry said, in what authorities are investigating as a possible act of terrorism.

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 Senora 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 Rodriguez. The town hall said he was hospitalized and in stable condition.

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

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

The secretary general of Spains Episcopal Conference, Francisco Garcia, wrote on Twitter that “I have received the news of the incident in Algeciras with great pain.”

Algeciras is near the southern tip of Spain, resting across from a bay from Gibraltar. It is home to an important port with ferry connections to northern Africa.

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