Three have been killed in a siege on a church near Rouen, France. Police say one man was a hostage and the other two the attackers, who took a priest, two nuns and three churchgoers hostage. The siege has just finished at around 1130am local time on July 26.
French media reported shots had been heard and two armed men had taken people hostage at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in Northern France. One hostage, a priest, was killed with a blade. The attackers were both killed by police. Five people had been taken hostage in total, but a sixth had managed to escape and alert police to the crime.
Several others have been injured in the attack.
The attack took place during morning prayers at around 9:45am. The police were quickly on scene when a nun alerted them to the attack, and one man said that he was going to the church when he saw the streets cordoned off. Police told those around to go home and barricade themselves in their homes.
News on the situation is continually updating. More as we get it.
Update 1: French reports now state that both attackers have not been killed. One was killed and the other neutralized. The second attacker is in critical condition in hospital, following the siege by the police. Just 10 minutes earlier that this confirmation, the French Interior Ministry had incorrectly confirmed both attackers had been killed at the scene.
Update 2: The priest has been named as Jacques Hamel. The 86-year-old has been the priest at the church for many years, and loved by the community.
According to reports, the two attackers shouted “daesh” before the attack, which is the alternative name given to ISIS by the French government. It has led to speculation that this was another terrorist attack by the extremist group. The church was one of the places listed on a terrorist group “hit list,” found back in April. One of the attackers had been previously arrested and detained by French authorities, and was wearing a tracking bracelet around his ankles.
This is the latest attack in Europe. Just this month there was a suicide bombing at a local festival and a knife attack, allegedly by a Syrian refugee. France is currently recovering from the Nice attacks just weeks earlier.
ISIS has now officially claimed the attack as theirs, saying two of the group’s “soldiers” carried it out.
Update 3: One person has now been detained in connection to the attack.
Featured image from tweet above.
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