Two attackers seized hostages in a church near the Normandy city of Rouen Tuesday, killing one hostage by slitting his throat before being killed by police, a security official said. The identities of the attackers and motive for the attack are unclear, according to the official, who was not authorized to be publicly named. Another victim is said to be in critical condition.
French President Francois Hollande and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve are en route to the town of Saint-Etienne-en-Rouvray where the hostage-taking took place, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on France-Info radio. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls expressed ‘horror at the barbaric attack on the church’.
Anti-terrorism judges will probe the church attack, said a French prosecutor. Anti-terrorism investigators have been summoned in the case, he said. The incident comes as France is under high alert after an attack in Nice that killed 84 people and a string of deadly attacks last year claimed by the Islamic State group. France is also under a state of emergency and has extra police presence in the wake of the July 14 Nice attack. In November 2015, Paris and the northern suburb of Saint Denis witnessed a series of coordinated terror attacks that claimed the lives of 130 people. Seven persons behind the attack were gunned down.