Islamist knifemen forced priest, 84, to kneel and filmed his death as they slit his throat: Hollande says ‘France is at war with ISIS’ after jihadists storm French church during Mass chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’
Priest had throat cut while another hostage is fighting for life after knifemen burst into Normandy church at 9am
Reports that one of the attackers shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ as they launched attack at Gambetta Church near Rouen
Vatican has condemned the ‘barbaric’ killing of the 84-year-old priest and an anti-terror investigation is underway
ISIS claim responsibility for the atrocity while Francois Hollande says France is ‘at war’ with the terror group
One of the attackers lived locally and had electronic tag having been jailed in France for trying to travel to Syria
French authorities revealed this afternoon that they have arrested a third man in connection with the attack
Nicolas Sarkozy calls for a ‘merciless’ response and an ex-PM said ‘everything is being done to trigger a war of religions’
The ISIS knifemen who stormed into a church in Normandy filmed themselves butchering an elderly priest after forcing him to kneel – before they performed a ‘sermon in Arabic’ at the altar, a terrified witness has revealed today.
The 84-year-old priest, named as Jacques Hamel, had his throat cut in a Normandy church this morning in an attack that also left a nun critically injured and both jihadis dead.
The two killers, who shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ were shot dead by police marksmen as they emerged from the building, which was later searched for bombs.
French president Francois Hollande, who visited the scene today, said the country is ‘at war’ with ISIS after the terror group claimed responsibility for the brutal attack.
One of the extremists who stormed into the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen during mass was a French 19-year-old, who was being monitored by electronic tag after twice attempting to join fanatics in Syria. Unbelievably, his bail terms allowed him to be unsupervised between 8.30am and 12.30pm – the attack happened between 9am and 11am.
This afternoon it emerged that the murdered clergyman was deputising while the regular parish priest was on holiday. French authorities say they have arrested a third man in connection with the attack.
It was also revealed that the Catholic church was on a terrorist ‘hit list’ found in the apartment of a suspected ISIS extremist last April.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for a ‘merciless’ response to the killing while ‘horrified’ ex Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said he feared ‘everything is being done to trigger a war of religions’.