France: 1 detained in connection with church attack, says prosecutor’s office

This development comes after two men took hostages at a church near the Normandy city of Rouen on Tuesday, killing a priest by slitting his throat and seriously injuring another hostage.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 26, 2016 10:04 pm
France, France attack, Normandy, France church attack, France terror attack, France Islamic state, France attack: French soldiers stand guard as they prevent the access to the scene of an attack in Saint Etienne du Rouvray, Normandy, France, Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Two attackers invaded a church Tuesday during morning Mass near the Normandy city of Rouen, killing an 84-year-old priest by slitting his throat and taking hostages before being shot and killed by police, French officials said. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Paris prosecutor’s office on Tuesday said one person has been detained in the investigation into the church attack. Prosecutor’s office spokeswoman said the person was detained Tuesday, but gave no details on the identity or location. The spokeswoman spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

The Paris prosecutor’s office oversees investigations involving terrorism.

This development comes after two men, allegedly belonging to an Islamic State group, took hostages at a church near the Normandy city of Rouen on Tuesday, killing a priest by slitting his throat and seriously injuring another hostage.

The men were shot by French Police and three hostages were freed.

Another person inside the church in Normandy was seriously injured and is hovering between life and death, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said. Police managed to rescue the only three other people inside the church in the small northwestern town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, he told reporters.

A regional Muslim leader said one of the two attackers – who were killed outside the church – was known to police.

It was the first known attack inside a French church in recent times. A church was targeted last year, but the attack never was carried out.

A statement published by the Islamic State-affiliated Amaq news agency said the attack was carried out by “two soldiers of the Islamic State” who acted in response to calls to target nations in the U.S.-led coalition fighting IS in Iraq and Syria.

The RAID special intervention force was searching for possible explosives in or around the church.

“The investigations are ongoing. There are still unknowns,” Brandet said. “There are dogs, explosive detectors and bomb disposal services and as long as there are still unknowns, the judicial police cannot get inside the site. It’s a dramatic situation.”

Dominique Lebrun, the archbishop of Rouen, confirmed the death of 86-year-old Rev. Jacques Hamel. “I cry out to God, with all men of good will. And I invite all non-believers to unite with this cry,” Lebrun wrote in a statement from Krakow, Poland, where Pope Francis was expected. “The Catholic Church has no other arms besides prayer and fraternity between men.”

READ: France church attackers ‘claimed to be’ from Islamic State group: President Hollande

French President Francois Hollande, arriving on the scene, called it a “vile terrorist attack” and said it’s one more sign that France is at war with the Islamic State, which has claimed a string of attacks on France.

“We must lead this war with all our means,” he said, adding that he was calling a meeting on Wednesday of representatives of all religions.

He expressed solidarity with local Catholics, saying “they have been terribly hit by the killing of the parish priest by two terrorists claiming to belong to Daesh. I have met with the family of the priest.”

READ: Normandy after Nice: List of terrorist attacks across the globe in 2016

A police official said one of the attackers was turned back after trying to go to Syria. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal details of the investigation, said the man wore an electronic bracelet to monitor his movements.

Mohammed Karabila, head of the Regional Council of the Muslim Faith for Haute-Normandie, said French security services knew the name of one of the attackers.

“The person who committed this odious act is known and he has been followed by the police for at least 1 1/2 years. He went to Turkey and security services were alerted after this,” he told The Associated Press by phone. He refused to divulge man’s name and had no information on the second attacker.

The pope condemned the attack in the strongest terms. Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a statement the attack hits particularly hard `’because this horrific violence took place in a church, a sacred place in which the love of God is announced, and the barbaric murder of a priest.”

France is on high alert and under a state of emergency after an attack in the southern city of Nice on Bastille Day – July 14 – that killed 84 people that was claimed by the Islamic State group, as well as a series of attacks last year that killed 147 others around Paris.

(With inputs from AP)

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  1. A
    Jul 26, 2016 at 3:08 pm
    France has allowed too many muslims from Algeria tunisia marocco etc to settle in the country.Wherever too muslims live ,prommbles arise.Ithink it is too late for european countries to tackle the problem.Thesr countries are slowly but surely moving towards civil wars like other muslim countries like syria lebenon irak etc.
    1. F
      Jul 26, 2016 at 6:03 pm
      Sir you are great but you a which is leaking and spreading pollution. Please plug it. If you allow me I will ask Hafiz Syeed who will plug it with his non leather weapon . Please also spray your ads , we want to make India pollution free country. Please sir
      1. M
        Jul 26, 2016 at 7:06 pm
        A time bomb thrived on higiri without doing the real integration! Politics and higiri is not same!
        1. M
          Jul 26, 2016 at 7:24 pm
          First thing first: Islam is not a religion. Violence and threats can not be means to go to Heaven no matter who says it! If even any God says that He or She can not be God! Why on earth any God will create just to subject them to violence and mindless destruction than again if humans are born only once as Islam would say? How one would tally that? lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Unless the basics are taken into account people will continue to pay the;br/gt;lt;br/gt;So, again, first things first: Islam at most may be a violent political eny and certainly can not be a religion. You can not call a path to God religion when it creates psychopaths in huge numbers. Keep this going for another 30/40 years even no Hospitals on earth will be able to cope with the psychopaths and mentally disoriented ones created in the name of Islam! Some will still say Islam is a religion of peace but some people misunderstood or misinterpreting it! What if the misinterpreted numbers overtakes those who want to "interpret" it correctly? Applying force for "correction" is a recognized method in Islam! What the peaceniks will be doing then? Hindus had place like Himalaya to go over the years on various grounds and some time to stay away from chaos or when even under threat. Then they made Himalaya even of greater value than the rest! Where the rest will go? Jump into the nearby Ocean, which will then "spilt" to give room for shelter?
          1. I
            Jul 27, 2016 at 11:39 am
            This so called religion of peace is a cancer for the soceity europe wake up..its too late now...deport all to the Arabic gulf countries and to paksitan and;br/gt;bloody liikings all opver the world...and every time bullsht justify their acts after every killings...
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