Man arrested for rampage with Spanish machete is said to have already been deported

A man arrested Wednesday night after killing one and injuring another with a machete was in Spain illegally and threatened to be deported to Morocco.

The crime in which a church worker was murdered and a priest nearly fatally stabbed last night has been classified as a suspected terrorist attack.

El Confidencial reported that police arrested Yassine Kanjaa, 25, back in June last year after discovering he did not have permission to stay in Spain.

Authorities had apparently begun the process of repatriating Kanjaa to his native country of Morocco last year, but he instead remained free transfer to a foreigners’ prison and expulsion within 60 days according to the law.

It was not clear if the delay was due to the Spanish or Moroccan authorities, who needed to recognize Kanjaa as a citizen and issue him a passport in order to return.

Police officers arrest a person after he was stabbed at a church in Algeciras, Spain

The Spanish police arrested Yassine Kanjaa after the machete attacks on Wednesday night

The attack happened around 19.30 local time (18.30 GMT) last night in the port city of Algeciras, in Spain’s autonomous community of Andalusia.

Kanjaa lived on Calle Ruiz Tagle, a street next to the church of San Isidro, which was the first to be attacked, and four minutes away from the church of Nuestra Senora de la Palma, which he attacked moments later.

Kanjaa is said to have argued with worshipers at the San Isidro Roman Catholic Church before returning an hour later, around 7.30pm, with a Koran in hand and stabbing Mr Rodriguez in the neck.

Then he entered the church of Nuestra Senora de la Palma and attacked the sacristan after destroying crosses and religious images.

The sacristan escaped but was pursued by the assailant, suffering fatal injuries and dying on the spot.

The attacker was disarmed by police arriving at the scene and taken into custody.

The attacker is shown with a large machete, attacking a priest and a sacristan in two churches

The attacker’s machete-like blade lies on the ground after the attack

Algeciras is a coastal town on the southern tip of Spain between Cádiz to the west and Marbella to the east.

The two churches are several hundred meters apart and are in an area very close to the port.

Police initially said several people were injured but later clarified it was just the priest, with emergency services confirming he sustained injuries “to the neck”.

The mayor of Algeciras said the dead man’s name was Diego Valencia and identified the priest as Antonio Rodriguez.

In a post on Twitter, the local community said Rodriguez, 74, was celebrating the Eucharist at San Isidro Church when he was attacked and described his condition as “serious but stable.”

He is reportedly recovering.

A police source told AFP the attacker was wearing a long robe and “screamed a little” as he carried out the attack.

Local reports said he “proclaimed the greatness of Allah” after his arrest.

Eyewitnesses to Nuestra Señora de La Palma reported to local media that a man ran into the building at around 7:30 p.m., just as they were finishing the communion service. They said he screamed and started throwing icons, crosses and candles on the ground.

Prosecutors have launched a terrorism investigation led by a judge from the Audiencia Nacional, Spain’s highest criminal court that hears terrorism-related cases.

The Spanish police have not yet officially commented on reports on the suspect’s immigration status and his deportation order.

The attack is being investigated by the Spanish court Audiencia Nacional in Madrid. Man arrested for rampage with Spanish machete is said to have already been deported

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