Tabernacle Ortega and Mohamed Siali |
Madrid/Rabat (EFE) persists and that, in addition, can appear in the form of lone wolves.
This Monday, Yassine Kanjaa, the 25-year-old Moroccan young man who attacked two churches in Algeciras (Cádiz) armed with a large machete on Wednesday, is at the disposal of the National Court. Dressed in a black djellaba, he killed the sacristan Diego Valencia and injured several people, among them the priest Antonio Rodríguez.
We will have to wait a few hours to find out if the judge qualifies his action as a terrorist act. And for it to do so, the result of the searches that the investigators have been carrying out on the pendrive found in the search of the house where he lived, on the detainee’s mobile devices, on the conversations he had and with whom, on the pages that could visit on the internet…
His action has not been claimed by Daesh, which, however, has echoed it through related media.
Almost at the same time that Kanjaa carried out the attacks on the churches in the city of Cadiz, the Civil Guard and the National Police carried out a joint operation that led to the arrest in Girona of Fath Allah Benhachem Grarrass.
It was a man of Moroccan origin and Spanish nationality with an “advanced” level of radicalization and who that same day had searched the internet on how to attack with bladed weapons.
As reflected in the order of the judge who sent him to prison, the detainee, with a profile “of great violence and aggressiveness”, had expressed in groups related to Daesh his intention to attack in Spain against some “accessible individual objective associated with the Spanish governments or Moroccan or Jewish interests”. He even proposed attacking the beaches of the Alicante town of Benidorm.
Two lone wolves 1,200 kilometers apart?
Almost 1,200 kilometers separate Algeciras from Girona. A distance that covers a large part of a Spanish territory in which the security forces have not lowered their guard against the terrorist threat despite the fact that since 2017, when the attacks in Catalonia occurred, no jihadist attack has been perpetrated.
While, according to the Ministry of the Interior, Yassine Kanjaa “was not on the radar of any national service due to radicalization”, Fath Allah Benhachem Grarrass was in the spotlight of the Spanish security forces, including the US FBI, precisely because he was radicalized . But he could be neutralized in time, as police sources emphasize to EFE.
But are they both lone wolves? Sources from the fight against terrorism consulted by EFE believe so and do not hesitate to affirm that these are two cases of extremism, of a radicalization that leads them to want to commit violent actions.
And even more so if they are faced with circumstances that activate them, such as the discussion that Yassine Kanjaa had with the parishioners of the church minutes before retracing her steps and breaking into the temple again with the machete.
The experts consulted do not hesitate to admit that the detection of these individuals is “very difficult”. And it is even more to find out when they are going to act.
If they finally act, they will do so with very simple weapons and means (machetes, knives…) Normally, when they start to attack, “they can’t stop anymore” and they continue the action until they are neutralized. This is surely what happened in the case of Algeciras, the same sources underline.
Madness or terrorism? They are not incompatible
Much has been written about the possible mental disorder of the Algeciras attacker and it has even been said that he was undergoing psychiatric treatment in his country of origin.
Alleging “insanity”, the sources say, “does not minimize the fact, nor does it even exempt it from being terrorism.” In any case, it will affect criminal culpability, but it will continue to be terrorism.
The psychological disorder, if it exists, “complicates a lot” the assessment of the individual for researchers, the sources add. But also, it makes the suspect more dangerous because he will be even more unpredictable.
In any case, the National Court will have to determine whether the Algeciras attacks are terrorist acts, as it will also have to do in the case of the attack on Torre Pacheco (Murcia) on September 17, 2021 when a man of Moroccan origin ran over several people on a terrace, one of whom died.
The author himself also died of self-inflicted injuries. Investigators believe that based on the evidence collected, it may be a lone wolf. And they continue betting on it even if it were found that the man suffered from some mental disorder.
almost express radicalization
In the case of the attacker from Algeciras, it is not yet known with certainty if he was radicalized, but he could have done so almost expressly through the consumption of “ad hoc” material on the Internet. For now, it’s just speculation.
A researcher who has been consulted by EFE gives as an example the case of the author of the attack in Nice (France) in 2016, who became radicalized in just a month and a half. If he had done it in direct contact with imams or other Islamic authorities, he would have needed “more time for logistical and security reasons,” he stresses.
According to this jihadism expert, the Algeciras attack is “unique.” He also believes that the suspect could suffer from a mental illness due to the consumption of hashish in adolescence and assures: “his radicalization of him is not normal, I don’t think he has seen a complete jihadist indoctrination material.”
Nor does he rule out that last week’s burning of copies of the Koran in some European countries could have pushed the alleged jihadist from Algeciras to perpetrate his crimes.