The man responsible for the machete massacre at two churches in Algeciras on Wednesday evening was a Moroccan national living in Spain illegally and awaiting deportation.
Yasin Kanza, 25, reportedly shouted ‘death to Christians’ and ‘Allah’ before stabbing a church rector in the neck and grievously wounding a parish priest.
According to authorities, Kanza was living in Spain illegally and was recently the subject of a deportation order.
He had also been under surveillance by Spain’s counter-terrorism police for his links to terrorist groups and the risk of radicalisation.
A search was conducted at his home on Thursday, where digital devices were seized and the sheath of the machete that was used to kill rector Diego Valencia and seriously hurt priest San Isidro was found.
One of his flatmates denied to El Pais that Kanza was not into jihadism but was ‘paranoid’.
“He is not into jihadism. The kid is not well. He threatened his companions with a knife. He was using drugs, but then he stopped and began to pray instead.”
The murderer, whose crimes are being labelled as terrorism, comes from Oued El Marsa, a small town next to Castillejos just outside Ceuta.
Kanza was described as a ‘normal boy’ who wore tracksuits and dabbled with selling drugs until he started to wear djellabas about two months ago.
The Spanish Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, cancelled his visit to Stockholm to meet EU counterparts and instead travelled to Algeciras.
The Islamic community in Algeciras has also condemned the attack, calling it a “vicious attack” and distancing themselves from the perpetrator.
The Spanish authorities have made counter-terrorism a priority since the 2004 terrorist attacks in Madrid.
Together with Kanza, they have now captured 1,089 jihadists in almost two decades.
The leader of the right-wing Vox party, Santiago Abascal, has blamed left-wing politicians for the events,
The leader of the right-wing Vox party, Santiago Abascal, seized on the attack to blame left-wing politicians for the events.
“He entered Spain illegally, was subject to a deportation order, was under surveillance for jihadism, and was an illegal squatter. How many more like him will there be in Spain?” Abascal asked.
“The mafias of people smugglers and the politicians who open borders and provide them with support cannot hide their responsibility,” he added.
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