The ISIS terrorist group has confirmed two members loyal to the group carried out an attack on a church in the northern French town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, killing a priest and seriously wounding another.
Via its Amaq information site, ISIS said “two soldiers” of the group carried out the attack in Normandy, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors statements posted by the terrorist group that controls swathes of Syria and Iraq.
President Francois Hollande on Tuesday said that “we are at war against Daesh, using an alternate name for ISIS, reported Le Monde. Hollande confirmed it was a terrorist attack and a “cowardly murder.”
French people “should know that they are threatened, but they are not the only country,” Hollande said. Germany in particular has been struck by attacks in recent days.
The two suspects were fatally shot by the BRI, France’s specialized police force, as they came out of the church, France24 reported. Bomb squad officers and dogs were seen searching the church for explosives.
— Voice of Europe (@V_of_Europe) July 26, 2016
In the attack, two assailants entered a church and slit the throat of an 84-year-old priest, who died, and they left another unidentified hostage with life-threatening injuries, Radio France International reported, citing French police. According to The Associated Press, the attackers seized several hostages, killing the priest, before they were shot by the BRI.
The Amaq agency, quoting an “insider source,” said that the two attackers in the Normandy church “executed the operation in response to calls to target countries belonging to the crusader coalition.”
France remains on high alert after Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a Tunisian man, killed 84 people with a truck, ramming into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice. The July 14 attack was the third major terrorist attack in France in 18 months, including the devastating Paris attacks in November last year.
France extended its state of emergency after the Nice attack, which gives police extra powers to search and place people under house arrest.