Spain: funeral of sexton killed in attack on churches in Algeciras

Hundreds of people took part on Friday in the funeral of the sexton killed in a machete attack on Wednesday against two churches in Algeciras (southern Spain), while the investigation continues.

The Nuestra Señora de La Palma church – in the center of which had been placed the coffin of Diego Valencia, who was in his sixties – was full while a few dozen people waited outside, AFP noted.

Flowers were laid and candles lit in the square in front of the church where this sexton was killed.

His coffin left the church to applause.

The attack, which hit this church on Wednesday evening and another a few hundred meters away, also seriously injured a 74-year-old priest. Hit in the neck, he was operated on and was able to leave the hospital.

The alleged perpetrator of the attack, Yassine Kanjaa, a 25-year-old Moroccan, was transferred to Madrid on Friday where he is still being questioned by the police, a police source told AFP.

He must be presented Monday before a judge of the National Audience Court, where an investigation has been opened for “presumed acts of terrorism”.

According to the government, the suspect had been the subject of a “deportation procedure for irregular situation” since June.

The Spanish Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, indicated Thursday evening that the man had never attracted the attention of the Spanish security services or other countries for acts of “radicalization”.

Asked about the suspect’s hypothesis of mental disorders, Mr. Marlaska said he did not rule out any leads. “The terrorist nature of the events is being analyzed, but other possibilities are also open,” he insisted.

In a court document consulted by AFP, the magistrate in charge of the case makes the link with “jihadist Salafism”, recounting that after his arrest, the suspect “cried several times + Allah Akbar + ” (“God is the greatest”).

– “Not well in his head” –

“For a little over a month, he had completely changed, he had let his beard grow, only dressed in a djellaba”, told AFP “Aymar”, who lives in the same building as the suspect and refused to give his real name.

“His mind had recently been in another world, he was saying things that didn’t make sense (…) He was not well in his head, a psychopath”, he added, saying to hold these details from roommates of the suspect, who lived on the ground floor in an unsanitary apartment.

“He was not someone you think could be part of a group of jihadists (…) He was only talking about the devil, about God, about weird things”, he said again, assuring that Yassine Kanjaa had recently stopped using hashish.

The attack in Algeciras gave rise to a lively controversy after remarks deemed Islamophobic by Alberto Núñez Feijóo, leader of the Popular Party (PP, right-wing opposition) and potential future Prime Minister if his party wins the elections to the end of the year.

“It’s been centuries since we’ve seen a Catholic or a Christian kill in the name of their religion or their beliefs, while other peoples have citizens who do it,” he said on Thursday. .

A speech immediately condemned by the left in power. “There are times when it is better to be silent and appear responsible than to speak like this,” said Education Minister and Socialist Party spokesperson Pilar Alegría.


Spain: funeral of sexton killed in attack on churches in Algeciras