On Wednesday evening, a sacristan was killed and a priest was injured in a suspected terrorist attack on two Catholic churches in Algeciras, Spain.

The churches, the Church of Our Lady of La Palma and St. Isidore Church, are located near the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula, across the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco.

The sacristan, Diego Valencia, was killed in the attack on the Church of Our Lady of La Palma, while Father Antonio Rodríguez was injured in the attack on St. Isidore Church.

According to CNA, the suspect entered St. Isidore Church and began striking statues with a machete. Father Rodríguez attempted to expel the suspect, who then stabbed the priest in the neck once outside the church. The suspect was reportedly dressed in a djellaba, a traditional Moroccan dress.

In response to the attacks, the Mayor of Algeciras, José Ignacio Landaluce, declared a day of official mourning and announced a rally to be held in front of the city’s largest church. The National Court is investigating the attacks as a suspected jihadist terrorist attack, and various Spanish bishops have condemned the attacks and offered condolences to the victims and their families.

Francisco César García, the auxiliary bishop of Toledo and secretary general of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, wrote on Twitter, “It is with pain that I have received the news of the events in Algeciras. In these sad moments of suffering, we join the grief of the families of the victims and the Diocese of Cádiz and ask the God of life and peace for the speedy recovery of the injured.”

In a press conference, García acknowledged that “in this case there was a religious motivation of hatred of the faith” but stressed that “we cannot and should not demonize groups in general.” He expressed the “most absolute and total condemnation” of the attacks and called it “taking the name of God in vain.”

The Spanish Bishops’ Conference also released a statement condemning the violence and expressing their “closeness and heartfelt sentiments and the consolation of faith to the families of the victims, to the Diocese of Cádiz, and to the people of Gibraltar County.” They also called on people to “be bearers of peace and mercy.”

Pray for an end to Christian persecution!


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