Spanish Court Determines Church Murder Attack Was Terrorism

Pedestrians walk past the church where a man was killed the day before in Algeciras, south

A Spanish court has announced that last week’s murder and attempted murder at two churches in Algeciras was likely a jihadist terrorist attack and has remanded the main suspect in custody.

Judge of the Spanish National Court Joaquín Gadea remanded Moroccan Yasin Kanjaa into custody under charges of murder and attempted murder for terrorist purposes following statements made by the suspect after this arrest following last Wednesday’s deadly attack.

According to the judge, the Moroccan migrant’s actions “can be qualified as a jihadist attack directed, both against priests who profess the faith of the Catholic Church and against Muslims who for the investigated do not follow the precepts of the Qur’an,” the newspaper El Mundo reports.

The judge also noted that Kanjaa had not been on the radar of police and had not engaged in any activity prior to the attack that would have made him noticed by authorities. However, the judge stated that Kanjaa had changed his attitude in the last month on social media, after previously engaging in drinking alcohol and smoking hashish.

Kanjaa is believed to have been self-radicalised and not formally linked to any terrorist groups and the judge stated that he was well aware of what he was doing and the attack was not the result of a mental illness.

“The conduct of the investigated was conscious and has defined its objectives, having the option of causing greater damage, focuses its action specifically on the subjects whom it attacks, whom it chooses deliberately. The first of them against the priests, recognizing that their intention was to kill all the priests who were in the church,” the judge said.

“Secondly, he focuses his attack on a Moroccan whom he considers unfaithful, believing that he was dealing with a Moroccan convert, for not practising the authentic religion, and whom he assaulted with the intention of killing him,” he said.

The judge’s announcement clarifies prior speculation now whether or not last Wednesday’s attack, which saw several Catholic clergymen attacked and one killed, had been linked to racial Islamic extremism.

Reports also later revealed that Kanjaa had been subject to a deportation order from Spain since June of last year. Santiago Abascal, leader of the populist-conservative party VOX, commented on the case saying, “He had an order of expulsion,” and added, “How many more like him could there be in Spain?”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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