Jihadis affiliated with the Islamic State stormed a church in Normandy, France, during morning mass on Tuesday, and brutally murdered an 84-year-old priest and took nuns and worshipers as hostages.
Two assailants stormed the Church of the Gambetta in the Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray district of Normandy around 10 a.m. local time. They took five people hostage, including the priest, identified as Father Jacques Hamel, two nuns and two parishioners.
Hamel eventually lost his life, as the men slit his throat with a knife. The assailants also left three others wounded.
According to Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet, one hostage was seriously hurt and is straddling the line between life and death at a nearby hospital. Police were able to rescue three people from the church, Brandet added.
The police shot the two radicals dead and are investigating to see if there were other accomplices involved in the attack.
The Paris prosecutor’s office, which oversees terror investigations, has detained one person for questioning. The Associated Press, however, reports that the detainee offered no details on location or identity.
French President François Hollande responded to the attack by telling journalists in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray that IS (also known as ISIS and ISIL) is responsible for the “cowardly assassination” carried out by “by two terrorists in the name of Daesh.” Daesh is the arabic acronym for IS.
“The threat remains very high,” Hollande said. “We are confronted with a group, Daesh, which has declared war on us. We have to wage war by every means, (but through) upholding the law, which is because we are a democracy.”
IS has also claimed responsibility for the attack.
A statement posted to Telegram by the IS-linked Amaq news agency Tuesday claims that the assailants were “soldiers of the Islamic State.” The statement also says that the attack was a response to calls by IS to target citizens of states participating in the United States-led anti-IS coalition.
Vocativ reports that even before IS officially took responsibility for the incident, IS supporters did not waste time in praising the attack.
“Yesterday in Ansbach and before that in Nice, and today in Rouen,” a statement on a pro-IS Telegram channel asserted. “Slaughtering, stabbing, ramming and killing in Europe. This is what you brought for yourselves, you Crusaders.”
IS supporters also took to Twitter to voice their praise of the attack … Read more