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Migrant yelled 'death to Christians' while killing church official, wounding 4 in Spain: witnesses

The suspect allegedly threw religious objects during his attack as well.

Published: January 26, 2023 2:05pm

Updated: January 26, 2023 3:53pm

One person is dead and four others are wounded, including a priest, after a Moroccan national attacked people with a machete in two Catholic churches in Spain while reportedly yelling "Allahu Akbar" and "death to Christians."

Police began surveilling the 25-year-old migrant suspect, Yasin Kanza, several days before the attack in Algeciras due to suspicious behavior, according to the Spanish outlet El Mundo.

Kanza first entered the San Isidro church in the southern Spanish port city on Wednesday around 6:30 p.m. local time. He started arguing with parishioners, encouraging them to convert to Islam, Spanish paper El Pais reported. He left and then allegedly returned an hour later to stab a priest in the neck, leaving him in serious but stable condition. 

The suspect then entered the Nuestra Señora de La Palma church and eyewitnesses said he stood on the altar and began to throw religious objects. When church official Diego Valencia asked him to leave, Kanza reportedly attacked him. Valencia, who was in his sixties, was stabbed twice and died, according to the U.K. Telegraph

Witnesses said Kanza yelled "Allahu Akbar” and "Death to Christians" while carrying out the attacks. They then saw him kneeling to pray before his arrest.

The suspect was reportedly served a deportation order in June and was expelled in 2019 from Gibraltar, the British territory and city located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula and bordered to the north by Spain.

Spanish Christians and Muslims condemned the attack. The country's interior ministry has not classified the attack as jihadist at this time.

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