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Man dies, another seriously injured in knife attacks on two churches in Algeciras

People gather in the centre of Algeciras where a man was stabbed in the main square following violent incidents in two churches.

Spanish police were on Wednesday night investigating the death of a man who was attacked with a machete in a church in Algeciras following an earlier attack in a different church in the city.

A spokesperson for the Spanish Government’s representative in Cadiz province confirmed the dead man was a sacristan in the church of Nuestra Señora de La Palma in the heart of town.

Spain’s Policia Nacional confirmed they had arrested a man in connection with the attacks.

The centre of Algeciras was cordoned off with a heavy police presence.

The spokesperson for the Spanish Government representative in Cadiz said the first attack happened at around 7pm in the parish church in the nearby district of San Isidro.

“Armed with a machete, he [allegedly] attacked the priest, leaving him with serious injuries,” the spokesperson said.

The attacker, believed to be of North African origin, later went to Nuestra Señora de La Palma where he allegedly caused damage within the church before setting on the sacristan.

“The sacristan managed to get out of the church but was reached by the attacker outside, where he sustained fatal injuries,” the spokesperson said.

A Spanish magistrate will investigate the incidents as a possible act of terrorism, though this is a default approach to attacks within religious premises.

The spokesperson for the Spanish Government’s office in Cadiz province urged caution and said: “The facts are being investigated and it’s not possible at this time to say the reason for the attacks.”

The developments were being closely followed in Gibraltar.

“We are very concerned by these reports and express our condolences and solidarity to the people of Algeciras as we await details from the law enforcement agencies,” a spokesperson for the Gibraltar Government said.

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