Spain: Suspected of attacking churches with a machete had an expulsion order


The suspect in the attack on two churches in Algeciras (south), which left a sacristan dead and a priest injured, had an expulsion order from Spain because of his irregular immigration status, but had no criminal record, the government said Thursday.

The suspect, a 25-year-old Moroccan, identified by some Spanish media as Yasin Kanza, who was arrested, attacked with a machete on Wednesday afternoon the two churches located close to each other in the center of this port city in the far south. of Spainin the Andalusia region.

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Against him weighed “an expulsion file for irregular situation” opened “last June”, a “administrative procedure (…) whose execution is not immediate”explained in a message to journalists a spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior.

The detainee did not have “criminal records neither for terrorism, nor in Spain nor other allied countries”. the spokesman added, who assured that the suspect had not been under police surveillance “neither in the last days nor previously.”

According to several Spanish media, the alleged attacker lived near the churches.

The ministry indicated that during the early hours of Thursday a search was carried out at the suspect’s home and that “all the seized effects” are being analyzed.

After the attack, the National Court, a higher court in charge of complex cases, opened an investigation for alleged terrorism.

In any case, the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, said Thursday from Stockholm, where he was meeting with European counterparts, that it still cannot be confirmed whether the events are of a “terrorist nature or of any other nature.”

Grande-Marlaska, who stated that “there are no third parties involved in the events,” will travel to Algeciras in the near future “to continue the investigations on the ground,” said his office.

Police secure the area where a man was killed in Algeciras, southern Spain, on January 25, 2023. (Photo: STRINGER / AFP)

“moment of pain”

According to the Ministry of the Interior, the young Moroccan, who could be seen with a beard and smiling in a photo taken after his arrest, entered the church of San Isidro de Algeciras after 6:00 p.m. GMT on Wednesday, where, armed with a machete, He has attacked the priest, leaving him seriously injured.

“Subsequently, he entered the church of Nuestra Señora de La Palma where, after causing various damage, he attacked the sacristan”Diego Valencia, who managed to “get out of the church but has been hit by the attacker outside, where he has caused fatal injuries,” according to the ministry.

The priest, Antonio Rodríguez, was injured “in the neck” and was hospitalized, while Diego Valencia died instantly, according to the emergency services.

The mayor of algeciras decreed a day of mourning and invited residents to gather to condemn the attack at noon on Thursday in front of the church near which the sacristan was murdered.

In this city of 120,000 inhabitants, stupor reigned.

“It is a moment of pain”, told public radio RNE Juan José Marina, parish priest of the Church of Our Lady of La Palma, who stated that such an attack was not feared “because relations with the Islamic world in Algeciras are good and we have no problem.”

“It has been something that escapes all logic”, Dris Mohamed Amar, spokesman for the Union of Muslims in the area, told RNE on his side, who said he hoped “it is an isolated case, of a madman, a madman, and not something premeditated.”

A man watches police and rescue workers working at the site where a man was killed in Algeciras, southern Spain, on January 25, 2023. (Photo: STRINGER / AFP)

A man watches police and rescue workers working at the place where a man was killed in Algeciras, southern Spain, on January 25, 2023. (Photo: STRINGER / AFP) (STRINGER /)

Without “demonizing groups”

The condemnations of what happened continued to accumulate this Thursday.

César García Magán, secretary general of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, said at an event with journalists that they were “reprehensible, unjustifiable, execrable acts,” but warned of the “danger of demonizing groups.”

The president of the government, Pedro Sánchez, sent his “most sincere condolences to the relatives of the deceased sacristan”, while the opposition leader, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, of the Popular Party (right, PP), expressed his dismay.

The latest jihadist attacks in Spain They date back to August 2017 and occurred in Barcelona and the seaside resort of Cambrils, both in Catalonia. The attacks, claimed by the Islamic State group, left 16 dead and 140 injured.

Source: Elcomercio


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