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Police work next to the body of a man killed in Algeciras, southern Spain
Police work next to the body of a man killed in Algeciras, southern SpainImage: Nono Rico/Europa Press/AP/picture alliance

Spain probes 'terror' motive after church attack kills 1

January 25, 2023

At least one person was killed and another severely injured in a stabbing in southern Spain's Algeciras. The country's national court is investigating the case as a possible terror attack.


At least one person was killed and another was severely injured by a man wielding a bladed weapon in southern Spain on Wednesday, officials said.

El Mundo newspaper reported that at least four people were wounded.

Police said the suspect was arrested.

Spain's National Court said a judge was investigating the stabbing as a possible terror attack. 

What we know about the stabbings

An Interior Ministry statement said that "just after 7 p.m. (1800 GMT) this evening, a man entered the church of San Isidro in Algeciras, where, armed with a machete, he attacked the priest, leaving him seriously wounded."

"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," the statement added. 

The two churches are around 300 meters (1,000 feet) apart.

Francisco Garcia, the secretary-general of Spain's Episcopal Conference, said he received the news "with great pain."

"These are sad moments of suffering, we are united by the pain of families of the victims and for the Diocese of Cadiz,'' Garcia wrote on Twitter.

Suspect faced deportation

The perpetrator is said to be a 25-year-old man of Moroccan decent. Spanish police raided the suspect's home, a day after the attack. 

The country's Interior Ministry also revealed that the man, who is still being
questioned, had been under a Spanish deportation order since June, 2022. 

The man had no prior criminal nor terrorism-related convictions either in Spain or other countries, an unnamed police source told AFP, adding that the attacker was not in Spain legally.

fb/nm (AFP, AP, Reuters)