The man who killed a sexton and injured a priest in Algeciras acted “consciously” and within the framework of a “jihadist” ideology


A photo taken on January 26, 2023 in Algeciras, southern Spain, shows the Spanish flag, flowers and candles in the square near the church where a man was killed the day before.

Radicalized in a month. In view of the first elements of the investigation, the attack against two churches in Algeciras, which took place on Wednesday January 25 in the south of Spain, “can be qualified as a jihadist attack”directed in particular against representatives of ” Catholic Church “. The alleged perpetrator, Yassine Kanjaa, 25, acted in a manner “conscious” and within the framework of an ideology “jihadist”according to the Spanish justice, which placed him Monday, January 30 in pre-trial detention.

The judge charged with investigating the machete attack on Monday accused Yassine Kanjaa of “terrorism” and placed it ” in prison “announced in a press release the National Audience, Madrid court in charge of terrorism cases.

Yassine Kanjaa is accused of attacking the priest of the church of San Isidro in Algeciras with a machete. The facts took place on Wednesday January 25 at the end of the day, in this port city of 120,000 inhabitants located in the south of Andalusia. The 74-year-old priest was seriously injured in the neck and then hospitalized.

According to the authorities, the alleged perpetrator then went to the Nuestra Señora de La Palma church, a few hundred meters away, where he attacked a sexton, on whom he inflicted “several fatal injuries”. The sixty-year-old sexton died in the square in front of the church.

The coffin of the sacristan killed on Wednesday January 25, after a funeral mass in Algeciras, Spain, on Friday January 27, 2023.

According to the National Audience, three other people were injured by Yassine Kanjaa. Among them is a man of Moroccan nationality whom he allegedly attacked “with the will to kill him”accusing him of having distanced himself from Islam.

Arrested immediately after the facts, Yassine Kanjaa had been the subject of an expulsion procedure for an irregular situation since June 2022, according to the authorities. This young man, who lived not far from these two churches, was also unknown to the intelligence services, according to the Ministry of the Interior.

“An extremely rapid process of religious radicalization”

In a court document consulted by Agence France-Presse (AFP), the magistrate in charge of the case made the link between this attack and the “jihadist Salafism”. He also reported that after his arrest, the suspect had “several times shouted “Allah akbar!” » (” God is big ! »).

But the government had not ruled out the hypothesis of mental disorders. A neighbor of the suspect had reported to AFP that the young Moroccan “was not well in his head” and that he had “totally changed for a little over a month”leaving “grow the beard” and not dressing “more than in djellaba”.

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Police also insisted in a statement to the side on Monday “unstable” of Yassine Kanjaa, a young man who “did not have a criminal record” and “whose self-radicalization would have occurred” very quickly.

For Judge Joaquin Gadea, in charge of the case at the National Audience, Yassine Kanjaa had indeed “a life that some call ‘normal'” a few weeks ago again, and experienced “a process of religious radicalization” extremely fast.

But given the statements of those around him, the elements found on his phone and his remarks in police custody, he would have indeed acted in a way “conscious”aiming so “deliberate” the religious and the Moroccan he considered “unfaithful”believes the judge, quoted by the National Audience.

An approach that fully inscribes its action in the “jihadist phenomenon” intended to provoke “terror within society”even though Yassine Kanjaa acted ” alone “ and unrelated to “determined terrorist organization”concludes the judge.

The World with AFP

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