At least one person has died and several others are injured following a machete attack at two Spanish churches on Wednesday evening.
A man allegedly wielding a machete attacked churchgoers of the San Isidro Church in the port city of Algeciras, southwestern Spain, at approximately 6 p.m. local time.
It is understood the priest was attacked and sustained serious injuries to his neck.
The rampage continued at the nearby Nuestra Señora de La Palma where the attacker stabbed the local sacristan who then fled onto the nearby Plaza Alta de Algeciras where he was hunted down and mortally wounded. Two other people were injured during the incident, according to reports by Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
Eyewitnesses told local press how the attack, which began inside the church, spilled out onto the nearby public square as people were seen running from the scene. An employee from one of the local bars spoke of a tall man armed with a machete, dressed in a djellaba, a full-sleeved robe typically worn in the Maghreb region of North Africa. The man was reportedly shouting something during the attack.
Local police confirmed the arrest of a Moroccan national in his 30s. The case is being treated as a terrorist incident.
The suspect’s residence in the city center has been searched, and authorities may be looking for two other individuals in relation to the incident, according to local press reports.
“We are all stunned by these acts, which have filled us with pain,” said the local mayor, José Landaluce. “Algeciras has always been a city where harmony and tolerance reign, despite incidents like this that create an image that does not correspond to reality.”
“They’ve killed a sexton and injured, at least, a priest in an attack in Algeciras. It is still under investigation, but I condemn this crime. Intolerance will never be accepted in our society,” said Juanma Moreno, the regional president of Spain’s southern Andalucia.
The attack came just hours after a stabbing spree in Germany on a regional train that killed two people and injured five others. A Palestinian asylum seeker already known to police has been arrested in that case. He was reportedly in police custody a matter of days before the attack and has a violent background for a string of sexual offenses.