Man kills sacristan and wounds 4 with machete when breaking into churches in Spain

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A man with a machete invaded three churches, killed a priest, injured another and injured three more people early this Wednesday night (25) in Algeciras, southern Spain.

The case is being treated by the police as a terrorist attack, while the Spanish press speaks of a jihadist attack, that is, carried out by Islamic militants. Algeciras is a port city of 120,000 inhabitants located on the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Spain from Morocco.

The murderer, who was arrested by the police, wears a beard and is believed to be of Maghrebi origin (referring to countries in northwest Africa). He was wearing a chilaba, a traditional Moroccan tunic that covers the body from the neck to the ankle, and was carrying a misbaha, a Muslim rosary.

The weapon used in the crimes was an oriental-style machete adorned with ropes and bearing a kind of skull drawn near the tip.

The attack took place around 7:00 pm (15:00 GMT) and began when the attacker entered the San Isidro chapel, in the center of the city, carrying and displaying the machete.

Father Antonio Rodríguez’s attempts to get him to leave the temple caused the attacker to turn on him and hit him in the neck. The priest, who is hospitalized in a stable condition, even spoke with the attacker before being taken by ambulance to Punta de Europa.

Then the man walked four blocks and ran screaming into the Church of Our Lady of La Palma, where a service was being held. With the machete, he knocked down crosses and candles that he found along the way and went towards the altar.

The sacristan Diego Valencia tried to make him leave, but, as the armed man approached, he ran and fell to the ground. The assailant then violently brought the gun down on his head. Valencia died at the scene.

The third church involved is the Chapel of Europe, which is opposite the church on La Palma. It’s not clear if there were any injuries there, but police say three other people had to be treated.

The Spanish federal police said that, so far, the motivations behind the crime are unknown. Authorities cordoned off Praça Alta, in the center of the city.

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