Spain: Police raid residence of suspect in church machete assaults


ALGECIRAS, Spain — Spanish police on Thursday raided the house of a younger Moroccan man held over the machete assaults at two Catholic church buildings the earlier night time that left a church officer useless and a priest injured within the southern metropolis of Algeciras.

A police investigation directed by a Nationwide Court docket decide considers Wednesday’s violence a doable act of terrorism. The suspect is believed to have acted alone.

“The investigation is constant alongside the logical premise that this may very well be a case of terrorism, however we’re within the preliminary part and all the chances are open,” Spanish Inside Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska stated after the police accomplished their search of the suspect’s residence.

The suspect is a Moroccan citizen with no prior prison file “both in Spain or some other nation,” the inside ministry stated. He wasn’t “on the radar” of authorities for doable radical exercise, Grande-Marlaska added.

Authorities recognized him as 25-year-old Yassine Kanjaa, an official with Spain’s Nationwide Police with direct information of the case informed The Related Press on the situation of anonymity as dictated by police coverage.

The ministry stated that the suspect had been below a deportation order since June final yr due to his unauthorized migrant standing in Spain. Authorities of neighboring Gibraltar, which sits throughout a bay from Algeciras, stated that Kanjaa had been arrested within the tiny British territory in August 2019 when he tried to “come ashore from a Jet-Ski with out the mandatory documentation.” He was deported days later.

The assaults have shaken the multicultural metropolis situated close to the southern tip of Spain. Witnesses stated that within the second incident, the assailant jumped on the altar of the Church of Nuestra Senora de La Palma, wielding a machete. He then attacked a sacristan — tasked with making ready Mass — contained in the church and chased him right into a city sq. earlier than killing him.

A priest was wounded earlier on the San Isidro church, only a five-minute stroll away from Nuestra Senora de La Palma. The suspect had argued with the priest earlier than Mass and later returned to assault him. The Salesian spiritual order that the priest was affiliated with stated on Thursday he was out of hazard. The order later shared on Twitter “the perfect information ever”: that the priest was “again along with his neighborhood and within the care of his brothers.”

The Algeciras city corridor recognized the deceased sacristan as Diego Valencia and the wounded priest as Antonio Rodríguez.

The parish priest of Nuestra Senora de La Palma, the Rev. Juan José Marina, informed Spanish media that he thinks he might have been an supposed goal. He stated that he believed the attacker mistook the sacristan for a priest.

“In the identical means that he sought out the priest at San Isidro and nobody else, the identical factor occurred right here,” Marina stated. “If I had been right here, I might be useless.”

A fellow sacristan who served with Valencia on the church, Manolo González, stated the attacker climbed on the altar and Valencia got here out “and requested to know what was happening.”

Candles and flowers adorned the 2 small church buildings with whitewashed partitions on Thursday. The household of the slain sacristan gathered inside Nuestra Senora de La Palma to obtain the condolences of minister Grande-Marlaska and anxious residents. Flags had been flown at half-staff in Algeciras, whereas a minute’s silence and a vigil was noticed by the neighborhood, together with a major contingent from town’s Moroccan inhabitants.

“This hurts us loads,” Nahual Mostanaquin stated. “All Moroccans, these right here, in Morocco or France, nobody needs this stuff to occur. It’s a factor of insanity,” she added. “(The sufferer) was a superb man who did no hurt to anyone. He damage nobody and everybody beloved him.”

Aziz Handi added: ”We hope that it’s going to by no means occur once more, as a result of we stay in peace right here in Algeciras.”

Algeciras is a cosmopolitan port metropolis and the primary level of arrival for a lot of boats and ferries from North Africa, placing it on the heart of Spanish debates on irregular migration.

The Islamic Fee of Spain, which represents Muslims within the nation, condemned the “abominable, murderous and heartless act” in “a sacred area for our Catholic brothers in Algeciras.”

The violent acts on the church buildings could inflame social tensions stoked in an election yr by the far-right Vox get together, which is vying to win extra seats in native and nationwide governments, in addition to to type governing coalitions with the center-right Well-liked Occasion.

Vox’s chief, Santiago Abascal, linked the assault to his get together’s platform of cracking down on unauthorized immigration. Vox, the third-largest get together in Spain’s parliament, additionally presents itself because the protector of Spain’s Catholic heritage at a time when lively church membership is waning.

“He had an order of expulsion,” Abascal tweeted. “What number of extra like him might there be in Spain?”

Well-liked Occasion president Alberto Núñez Feijóo, the chief of Spain’s important opposition get together, stated that “Islamic terrorism is an issue for European society.

“It has been centuries since a Catholic or Christian has killed in title of his faith or beliefs,” Núñez Feijóo stated. “And there are different nations who’ve residents who do.”

The feedback by the right-wing leaders had been criticized by politicians from Spain’s governing left-wing coalition.

The secretary-general of the Spanish Episcopal Convention, a company of Spain’s Catholic bishops, appealed for unity.

“We can’t demonize any group,” César García stated, in line with Spanish information company EFE. “We can’t let ourselves be simply provoked, we can’t add gasoline on the fireplace, we can’t lapse into demagogy and we can’t determine terrorism with any faith.”

Jennifer O’Mahony reported from Madrid, and Joseph Wilson from Barcelona.

Latest articles

Related articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here