Two knife wielding terrorists, who have been hailed by the so called Islamic State as “soldiers”, stormed a Catholic church in northern France and reportedly slit the throats of a priest and one other person.
The priest, two nuns and two parishioners were detained during morning mass at the church in the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near the city of Rouen in Normandy.
The priest, 86-year-old Jacques Hamel, has died and French newspaper Le Figaro says the second victim is in a critical condition.
The knifemen got into the building through a back entrance, locked the doors and held five people hostage.
The assailants were “neutralised” by police as they came out of the church reportedly shouting “Allahu Akbar”. French media reported shots being fired.
TV footage of the sealed-off crime scene showed one person being stretchered into an ambulance. The remaining hostages were brought out alive.
French President Francois Hollande, who is at the scene, said the attackers claimed to be members of the terror group and slammed what he described as a “vile terrorist attack”.
He said IS has “declared war on us, we must fight this war by all means”.