October 23, 2016

Priest ‘killed’ after men armed with knives attack Normandy church

Police car and barricades on street in St Etienne du Rouvray in France.

A priest has reportedly been killed at a church in northern France during a suspected terror attack by men armed with knives.

Police sources told the AFP news agency the murdered man was among hostages taken on Tuesday morning, while a second hostage was in a life-threatening condition.

Local reports said the two attackers stormed the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during a service, taking the priest, two nuns and several members of the congregation hostage.

Police said officers”neutralised” both attackers an operation near Rouen, Normandy, on Tuesday morning and did not immediately confirm the number of victims injured.

Bernard Cazeneuve, the French interior minister, was due to visit the scene of the attack later in the day.

Officials made no indication of a motive for the attack and there was no immediate claim of responsibility from terror groups.

The Paris prosecutor said the incident was being investigated by the national counter-terrorism task force (SDAT) and the General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI) intelligence agency.

The incident came under a fortnight after the Nice attack, when 84 people were killed and more than 300 injured by an Isis supporter who drove a lorry into crowds celebrating Bastille Day.

France has been on high alert since the so-called Islamic State’s bombings and shootings in Paris on 13 November last year.

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