One of the church at­tack­ers was known to po­lice

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

France’s main re­li­gious lead­ers sent a mes­sage of unity and sol­i­dar­ity af­ter meet­ing yes­ter­day with French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande a day af­ter two ex­trem­ists at­tacked a Catholic church and slit the throat of an el­derly priest in front of other hostages.

Yet even as they spoke, more hor­ri­fy­ing de­tails of the church at­tack be­came known.

An 86-year-old wo­man iden­ti­fied only as Jea­nine, one of five held hostage on Tues­day at the Nor­mandy church, said the at­tack­ers handed her hus­band, Guy, a phone and de­manded that he take pho­tos or video of the priest af­ter he was killed. Her hus­band was in turn slashed in four places by the at­tack­ers and is in hos­pi­tal with se­ri­ous in­juries.

The at­tack­ers took hostages at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in France’s north­west region of Nor­mandy.

Af­ter the priest, Rev Jac­ques Hamel, 85, was killed, both at­tack­ers, at least one of them a lo­cal man, were killed by po­lice out­side the church.

Hol­lande, mean­while, presided over a de­fence coun­cil and cab­i­net meet­ing yes­ter­day in Paris af­ter speak­ing with Ro­man Catholic, Or­tho­dox, Mus­lim and Jewish lead­ers. The arch­bishop of Paris, Car­di­nal An­dre Vingt-Trois, called on Catholics not to “en­ter the game” of ISIS that “wants to set chil­dren of the same fam­ily upon each other”.

The rec­tor of the main Paris mosque, Dalil Boubakeur, said France’s Mus­lims must push for bet­ter train­ing of Mus­lim cler­ics and urged that re­form­ing French Mus­lim in­sti­tu­tions be put on the agenda. He did not elab­o­rate.

As author­i­ties looked for ways to pre­vent ex­trem­ist at­tacks, grue­some de­tails of the church at­tack trick­led out.

Paris prose­cu­tor Fran­cois Molins said the two at­tack­ers had knives and fake ex­plo­sives - one a phony sui­cide belt.

He iden­ti­fied one of the at­tack­ers as Adel Ker­miche, a 19-year-old who grew up in the town and tried to travel to Syria twice last year us­ing fam­ily members’ doc­u­ments. He was de­tained out­side France, sent home, handed pre­lim­i­nary ter­ror­ism charges and wore a track­ing bracelet that was turned off four hours a day.

The iden­tity of the sec­ond at­tacker has not been made pub­lic.

HOR­RI­FY­ING: The church at­tack in Nor­mandy

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