Spain church attack suspect was 'flagged for deportation'
On Wednesday two Spanish churches were attacked by a man wielding a machete. The attack left a verger dead and a priest seriously wounded
Algeciras: The man alleged to have stormed two Spanish churches with a machete, killing a verger and seriously wounding a priest, was slated for deportation but had no prior convictions, officials said Thursday.
The bloodshed, which took place on Wednesday evening in the southern port city of Algeciras, shocked Spain and left locals reeling.
The alleged attacker was arrested at the scene and police raided his home in the early hours of Thursday as prosecutors pressed ahead with a terror probe.
At midday, hundreds gathered outside Nuestra Senora de La Palma church where the verger was killed for a minute’s silence with many of those present breaking down in tears, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.
Among them was Juan Jose Marina, La Palma’s parish priest who was not there when the attack occurred that claimed the life of his verger, Diego Valencia.
“If I am alive, it’s because Diego died instead of me. I was supposed to be there,” he said, welling up with tears. At the time, he was conducting a service elsewhere.
The suspect, who was identified by a police source as a 25-year-old Moroccan, had “no prior criminal or terrorism convictions in Spain or allied countries” and was not under surveillance, an interior ministry spokesman said.
Although a deportation procedure was “opened in June”, it was not implemented immediately because it was an administrative procedure, he said.
Local media said he lived near the churches which are just 300 metres apart.
Although Spain’s top criminal court opened a terror investigation, the government has so far not qualified the nature of the attack.
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