A Moroccan man has been accused of killing one and wounding four others in a machete attack at two churches in Spain.
The suspect, a 25-year-old man reportedly set to be deported, allegedly ran into two Catholic churches in Algeciras, Spain, on Wednesday evening, killing one and injuring three others.
According to EFE, a Spanish international news agency, the suspect shouted “death to Christians” and “Allah is great” during the attack. The attack is being investigated as an act of terrorism, according to Spanish authorities. The public prosecutor’s office said the attack was “presumably terrorist.”
The churches that were targeted were the church of Maria Auxiliadora y San Isidro and Nuestra Señora de La Palma. Diego Valencia, the sexton of the second church, was killed while attempting to escape the attack.
One of the priests injured during the attack, Antonio Rodriguez, is expected to quickly recover. “If all goes well, he [Rodriguez] may even be released in the next few hours,” Algeciras Mayor Jose Ignacio Landaluce said.
“We are all stunned by these acts, which have filled us with pain,” Landaluce added. “Algeciras has always been a city where concord and tolerance reign, despite incidents like this that create an image that does not correspond to reality.”
According to local media, the suspect was in Spain illegally and set to be deported. He had also been monitored by Spanish counter-terrorism police over suspected ties to unspecified terrorist groups.
Santiago Abascal, the leader of the national-conservative Spanish political party Vox, took aim at the country’s immigration policies in a statement on the attack. “He entered Spain illegally, he had an expulsion order, he was under surveillance for jihadism, he was a squatter. How many will there be like him in Spain? The human trafficking mafias and the politicians who open their borders and shower them with subsidies cannot hide their responsibility,” Abascal said.
In another tweet, he said that Spain “cannot tolerate Islamism advancing on our soil.”
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez also offered his condolence to those impacted by the attack. “I want to express my sincerest condolences for the families of the sexton slain in the terrible attack in Algeciras,” he wrote on Twitter. “I wish the injured a swift recovery.”
Algeciras, located on the Bay of Gibraltar, has a population of around 123,000.