A policeman was injured on Tuesday morning at one of the border crossings between Morocco and the Spanish exclave city of Melilla, after a man armed with a knife approached officers shouting in Arabic “Allah is great!” and “Al Hoceima, freedom!”
According to police sources, the man was overpowered by officers, one of whom threw a plastic barrier at his head. Authorities are investigating the motive behind the attack, and the Spanish Interior Ministry is not ruling out a terrorist element.
The man was described by a witness as carrying a “ham knife,” given its large dimensions
The same sources explained that the man was responsible for a similar incident “several days ago,” although on that occasion he was not carrying a knife.
The attack took place at 7.45am, at a moment when the control point was very busy. The man was described by a witness as carrying a “ham knife,” given its large dimensions, and he threatened officers at the border control. “They took about three minutes to overpower him, using their batons and a shield,” the same witness reported.
One of the officers suffered light injuries to one of his fingers during the incident.
The assailant has been placed under arrest but is yet to be identified. He is thought to be of Moroccan nationality.
“This case reveals the lack of control on the part of the Moroccan police,” complained one of the police sources consulted. The SUP police union has denounced the state of “chaos and personnel shortages” at Beni Enzar, which is the main border between Spain and Morocco in the exclave city. The union is calling for reinforcements of 40 to 50 officers to avoid more incidents of this type.
English version by Simon Hunter.