Jacques Hamel, an 86-year-old priest has been ‘beheaded’ by two ‘Islamic’ men who cut his throat after bursting into a French church and taking nuns and worshipers hostage before being shot dead by police.
Five people including the priest, two nuns and two parishioners were held by assailants who raided the church in Rouen, Normandy at 9am.
The clergyman, named as Jacques Hamel, is said to have been beheaded during the attack while another hostage is fighting for their life in hospital.
The two attackers have been ‘neutralized’ by elite marksmen in a dramatic police operation while the building is being searched for explosives.
At least one of the men was dressed in Islamic clothing, according to French media reports, and an anti-terrorist unit has already taken up the investigation.
— frederic veille (@fredveille) July 26, 2016
“There is a new terrible news, which unfortunately adds to the violence that has occurred in recent days, creating immense pain and worry … We are particularly moved because this horrific violence took place in a church, a sacred place where the love of God is declared, with the barbaric killing of a priest and the involvement of the faithful.”
A local woman who worshiped at the church described Hamel as “a man who did his job to the end. He was elderly but was always available for whoever. He was a good priest.”
“He has been here for a long time and many parishioners knew him well. He lived in the rectory at Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray.”
France remains on high alert nearly two weeks after a man ploughed a truck into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, killing 84 people and injuring more than 300.
After the attack in Nice, France extended a state of emergency for another six months. The measure gives police extra powers to carry out searches and place people under house arrest.
One of attackers – is know as 19-year-old Adel K
Adel K was already being tracked by police after trying to join ISIS in Syria.
After being tagged by authorities, the teenager was allowed to be without supervision between 8.30am and 12.30pm – with this morning’s attacks taking place between 9am and 11am.
The third suspect has only been named as 17-year-old ‘HB’ – understood to be Adel K’s relative.
Dramatic images of a young man being arrested by police emerged on Tuesday afternoon.
Wearing a white t-shirt and blue jogging bottoms, a plain-clothes police officer marches the man away in handcuffs.
Father Hamel, 84, was the priest slaughtered by the duo as A’maq news agency, which is affiliated with ISIS, has officially reported that “two soldiers of the Islamic State” carried out the savage attack.
A nun who was in the church during the attack said the priest was forced to the ground before his throat was slit.
“They forced him to his knees. He wanted to defend himself. And that’s when the tragedy happened,” said the nun, identified as Sister Danielle, who called Father Hamel “a great priest.”
“They recorded themselves. They did a sort of sermon around the altar, in Arabic. It’s a horror,” she told BFM television.
Supporters of the depraved death cult are celebrating the horrific attack at the church which was reportedly on a terrorist ‘hit list’ which it is claimed French police have known about since April 2015 – following the arrest of an extremist in Paris last year.