Priest’s throat slit in French attack
SAINT-ETIENNE-DU-ROUVRAY — Attackers slit the throat of a priest during a hostage-taking at his church in the northern French town of SaintEtienne-du-Rouvray yesterday, sources close to the investigation told AFP.
The archbishop of the nearby city of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, named the priest as 84-year-old Jacques Hamel.
Police said they killed two hostage-takers in the attack in the Normandy town of Saint-Etienne-duRouvray, 125 km north of Paris.
Another hostage was “between life and death”, the interior ministry said.
The motivations for the hostage-taking were not yet clear, but the Paris prosecutor’s office said the case had been handed to anti-terrorism judges for investigation.
The incident comes as France remains on high alert nearly two weeks after Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel ploughed a truck into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera city of Nice, killing 84 people and injuring over 300.
French President Francois Hollande, who is from Rouen, and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve were on their way to the scene, their offices said.
Footage showed several emergency vehicles at the scene and the streets sealed off.
The Nice attack was the third major strike on France in 18 months and was claimed by the Islamic State group.
Two attacks in Germany claimed by the Islamic State group since then have also increased jitters in Europe.
After the attack in Nice, France extended a state of emergency giving police extra powers to carry out searches and place people under house arrest for another six months until January.
It was the fourth time the security measures have been extended since Islamic State jihadists struck Paris in November, killing 130 people at restaurants, a concert hall and the national stadium. — AFP