Migrant Facing Expulsion Kills Church Worker In Spain, Injures Priest
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
MADRID (Worthy News) – A young Moroccan man who faced deportation from the country allegedly killed a church caretaker and injured a priest in southern Spain, authorities said Thursday.
The machete-wielding suspect, 25, attacked the two victims at two Catholic churches in the Spanish city of Algeciras on Wednesday before being arrested, Spain’s interior ministry said.
He went on a stabbing spree late Wednesday around 7 p.m. local time in the church of Maria Auxiliadora y San Isidro and assaulted the parish priest, Antonio Rodriguez, who was seriously injured, the ministry said.
The assailant then entered the nearby church Nuestra Señora de La Palma, a five-minute walk away, where he attacked and effectively killed church carer Diego Valencia who had “mortal wounds,” the ministry said.
As news about the tragedy spread, hundreds of people observed a minute’s silence outside the Nuestra Senora de La Palma Valencia, where Valencia died. Many could be seen in tears, and mourners laid flowers and lit candles in his memory.
Authorities revealed they are investigating the attacks “as a possible act of terrorism.” The suspect, identified in Spanish media as Yassine Kanjaa, is in the custody of Spain’s National Police, authorities confirmed.
Reports said the attacker was already arrested in June last year when police discovered he had entered Spain illegally and was due to be deported from the country.
Algeciras is near the southern tip of Spain, resting across from a bay from Gibraltar. It is home to an important port with ferry connections to Northern Africa from where many migrants arrive in Europe.
The Spanish police, who took the Moroccan to Madrid for further investigations, said the deportation proceedings against the man had begun some months ago.
His case underscored concerns in Spain and elsewhere in Europe about Islamic extremism. Earlier this month, Spain said it detained two Islamic State group militants in the southern region of Andalusia.
The arrested Moroccans were allegedly plotting an attack in the region. Citing intelligence sources, Spanish media reported that the detainees were key figures who moved terror operatives from the Sahel region to Spain and radicalized people.
Last year, Spain arrested 52 “suspected jihadists” in 25 operations in 2022, according to a report citing Spain’s National Police.
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