84-yr-old priest killed in church attack in France

By primenewsghana.com

Two men claiming to be members of Islamic State (IS) have killed an 84-year-old priest in an attack at his church in a suburb of Rouen in northern France.

According to reports, the attackers entered the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during Mass, taking the priest, Father Jacques Hamel, and four other people hostage.

Police suspect the priest's throat was slit.

Both hostage-takers are now dead after a shootout with police.

President Francois Hollande said the men claimed to be from so-called Islamic State (IS).

Speaking in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, he said the attackers had committed a “cowardly assassination” and France would fight IS “by all means”.

Pope Francis decried the “pain and horror of this absurd violence”.

French interior ministry spokesman, Pierre-Henri Brandet, said one of the hostages had been critically wounded.

He said the hostage-takers had been “neutralised” after coming out of the church. Police were now searching the church for explosives.