Police raid home of church machete attacker after deadly assault in Spain | World News
Police in Spain have raided the home of a Moroccan who was arrested for machete attacks on two churches that killed a church worker and seriously injured a priest in the southern city of Algeciras.
Law enforcement officers are still trying to figure out the motives attackbut a National Court judge is investigating it as a possible terrorist attack.
The suspect, who was identified as 25-year-old Yassine Kanjaa, acted alone.
Spain’s interior minister, Fernando Grande-Marlasca, said police searched his home to “determine the terrorist or other nature of the attack.”
The interior ministry said the suspect is a Moroccan citizen with no previous convictions “in Spain or any other country.”
He added that the suspect has been under a deportation warrant since last June due to his status as an illegal migrant in Spain.
Kanja had previously been arrested in nearby Gibraltar, which is across the bay from Algeciras, in August 2019 when he attempted to “disembark from a jet ski without the necessary paperwork,” authorities said. A few days later he was deported.
Wednesday night’s attacks rocked the multicultural city near the southern tip of Spain.
Witnesses claim that in the second incident, the assailant jumped onto the altar of the church of Nuestra Señora de la Palma, brandishing a machete.
He then attacked a church attendant who was preparing Mass in the church and chased him into the town square before killing him.
Earlier, the priest was wounded in the church of San Isidro, just a few minutes from Nuestra Señora de la Palma.
Wounded priest Antonio Rodriguez has now returned to his community after an ordeal.
The Algeciras City Hall identified the dead church official as Diego Valencia.
Another person who worked with Mr. Valencia at the church, Manolo González, said the suspect climbed onto the altar and Mr. Valencia came out “and asked what was going on.”
Candles and flowers adorned two small white-washed churches on Thursday, and flags were flown at half mast in Algeciras.
A minute of silence and vigil were also observed by the communities, including a significant contingent of the Moroccan population of the city.
The family of the injured Mr. Valencia gathered in Nuestra Señora de la Palma to accept the condolences of the Minister, Mr. Grande Marlasca, and the concerned residents.
The cosmopolitan port city of Algeciras is the first point of arrival for many boats and ferries from North Africa, sparking government debate over illegal migration.
Spain’s Islamic Commission, which represents Muslims in the country, denounced the “disgusting, bloody and heartless act” at the “sacred place for our Catholic brothers in Algeciras.”