A machete attack in the southern Spanish city of Algeciras left one dead and at least four injured after the perpetrator rampaged through two local churches shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 25.
The attacks occurred at San Isidro and Nuestra Señora de La Palma churches, located about 300 metres apart, where the assailant first attacked Antonio Rodriguez, a priest, and subsequently killed local sacristan Diego Valencia. As the suspect was arrested by police, he reportedly shouting “Allahu akbar.” The priest was recovering in hospital after surgery Wednesday night.
The suspect, identified by the Spanish press as 25-year-old Moroccan national Yasin Kanza, was awaiting deportation after arriving in the city last summer. Prior to the attack, Kanza had reportedly been harassing church attendees with calls to convert to Islam. El Mundo reports he was not known in the Islamic community. The week before the attacks, he had been under surveillance by the police.
According to the judge assigned to the case, Kanza first entered the church of San Isidro, where he began “a discussion with those present, telling the parishioners vehemently that the only religion to follow is the Islamic religion.” Later, he chased the sacristan into the city square, where an eyewitness reports that before dealing Valencia a final deadly blow, the assailant
[held] the katana with both hands and, looking up at the sky and shouting a few words in Arabic, among which are heard the word ‘Allah.’
Spanish police issued a statement saying that the incident is being treated as a terrorist attack, even though the accused has no criminal record or existing links to Islamist extremism.
The mayor of Algeciras declared a day of mourning, with Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez expressing his condolences. Representatives of the populist party VOX called for greater border security and awareness of the dangers Islamism poses to Spanish society.
Islamism is already in our land, and it is a culture incompatible with ours.
This was the second terror attack to occur in Europe Wednesday. Earlier, German media reported two deaths when a 33-year-old Palestinian national attacked passengers on a train between Kiel and Hamburg.