Spain shaken by two attacks in churches

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The deadly attack perpetrated on the evening of Wednesday January 25 by a 25-year-old Moroccan in two Catholic churches rekindled the trauma of the jihadist attacks of August 2017, which left 16 dead and 140 injured on the avenue des Ramblas in Barcelona and in the seaside resort of Cambrils. They had been claimed by the Islamic State organization (Daesh). This Wednesday’s attack took place in the Andalusian city of Algeciras (120,000 inhabitants).

Around 7:20 p.m., armed with a machete and dressed in a djellaba, the young Moroccan entered the San Isidro church, near the apartment in which he lived. He attacked Antonio Rodriguez, the 73-year-old Salesian parish priest, with a machete. Seriously injured in the neck, the priest was operated on, and his condition is stable.

According to the Spanish police, the assailant then went on foot to the Plaza Alta district, the nerve center of the city. He entered another place of worship, that of Nuestra Señora de La Palma, where he threw objects on the altar to the ground. Sacristan Diego Valencia tried to overpower him and received a machete blow. However, he managed to get out to the forecourt to ask for help, but the killer pursued him and dealt him several fatal blows.

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According to the first elements of the investigation, the alleged perpetrator of the murderous attack had been awaiting deportation since June and was not on file for radicalism in Spain or France. Nevertheless, the Spanish public prosecutor’s office announced on Wednesday evening the opening of an investigation for “presumed acts of terrorism”, entrusted to the Madrid Court of the National Audience, responsible for the most sensitive cases, in particular terrorism cases.

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