Spain’s interior ministry said a knife-wielding man killed a sexton and wounded a priest at two Catholic churches in the city of Algeciras.
Authorities are investigating these attacks as a possible act of terrorism.
The suspect is in the custody of Spain’s National Police. The ministry did not identify him.
Algeciras is near the southern tip of Spain, resting in front of a bay of Gibraltar. It is home to an important port with ferry connections to North Africa.
The ministry said the attack began around 7 p.m., when an armed man entered the Church of María Auxiliadora y San Isidro and attacked a priest, who was seriously wounded.
The assailant then walked five minutes to another church called Nuestra Señora de la Palma, where he attacked the sexton.
The ministry said the sexton, whose job it is to look after the church, fled outside into a public square, where the assailant inflicted mortal wounds.
The Algeciras town hall said the sexton’s name was Diego Valencia and the wounded priest was identified as Antonio Rodriguez.
The town hall said he was hospitalized and in stable condition.
Local media reported that at least three other people were injured.
Spain’s National Court said a judge has opened an investigation into a possible act of terrorism.
Police are investigating the incident, the interior ministry said, to determine “the nature of the attack”. It did not give any details about the attacker’s motive.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez joined in the outpouring of support.
“I want to express my deepest condolences to the families of the sextons killed in the terrible attack in Algeciras,” Sanchez wrote on Twitter. “I wish the injured a speedy recovery.”
Francisco García, secretary general of Spain’s Episcopal Conference, wrote on Twitter that “I received with great pain the news of the incident in Algeciras.” The conclave is an organization of the Catholic bishops of Spain based in Rome.
“These are sad moments of suffering, we are united in the pain of the families of the victims and of the Diocese of Cádiz,” said García.
The town hall declared a day of mourning when flags would fly at half-mast.
Mayor Jose Landlus said, “We are all shocked by these acts, which have filled us with pain.” “Algeciras has always been a city where harmony and tolerance reign, despite incidents such as this that create an image that does not correspond to reality.”