BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – A knife-wielding man killed a sexton and wounded a priest in an attack on two churches in Algeciras on Wednesday before being arrested, the Spanish Interior Ministry said in a statement. A possible act of terrorism.
The suspect was arrested in a southern city and is being held by Spanish police. The ministry did not identify him.
The ministry said the attack began at about 7 pm when armed men entered the San Isidro church and beat a seriously injured priest.
The attacker then went to the second church, the Nuestra Señora de La Palma – a five-minute walk away – where he entered and continued his offensive by attacking the sexton. Sexton, whose job is to care for and care for the church. The ministry said he ran away from where the attacker wounded him in a public place.
Algeciras City Hall said the sexton was named Diego Valencia and identified the injured priest as Antonio Rodríguez. City Hall said he was hospitalized and in stable condition.
Local media reported that at least three other people were injured.
Spain’s national court has ruled that a judge has launched an investigation into possible acts of terrorism.
The Interior Ministry said police were investigating the incident to determine the “nature of the attack.” It did not provide further details on the possible motives of the attackers.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez offered his condolences.
“I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family of the sexton who lost their lives in the Algeciras attacks,” Sánchez wrote on Twitter. “I want the wounded to get well soon.”
“I received the news of the incident in Algeciras with great pain,” Spain Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference Francisco García wrote on Twitter.
“These are moments of grief, we are united by the suffering of the families of the victims and for the diocese of Cádiz,” he added.
Algeciras near the southern tip of Spain, resting in the Gulf of Gibraltar. It is home to a major port with a ferry connection to North Africa.
City Hall has declared a day of mourning when the flag will be flown at half-staff.
“We are all shocked by these actions that have hurt us,” said Mayor José Landaluce. “Algeciras has always been a city of harmony and tolerance, despite incidents like this that create an image that is inconsistent with reality.”