Hostage takers kill at least 1 at French church, priest’s throat reportedly slit

Police and rescue workers stand at the scene after two assailants had taken five people hostage in the church at Saint-Etienne-du -Rouvray near Rouen in Normandy, France, July 26, 2016. © Steve Bonet / Reuters

Police and rescue workers stand at the scene after two assailants had taken five people hostage in the church at Saint-Etienne-du -Rouvray near Rouen in Normandy, France, July 26, 2016. © Steve Bonet / Reuters

www.rt.com – 26/7/16
A priest has been killed during a hostage situation at a church in northern France, according to a police source. The two attackers slit his throat, police sources told Reuters.

Both attackers were killed by police snipers after running out of the church at one point during the standoff, an interior ministry spokesman said.

LIVE FEED from hostage scene in Rouvray, France

According to Le Point, one of the worshippers has also been killed. Police have so far only officially confirmed the death the priest, who was “killed with a blade.”

Le Point also reports that the attackers shouted “Daesh” (the Arabic acronym for the terrorist group Islamic State) as they broke into the church. This has not been officially confirmed.

The attackers briefly held a total of five people. One of the hostages was seriously wounded, interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said.

SWAT and anti-terrorist units, as well as firefighters, promptly arrived at the scene. The premises are now being searched for explosives, Brandet said.

The Paris anti-terrorist prosecutor is launching an investigation into the church attack and hostage-taking situation.

“Don’t break the security perimeter to take photos/videos, you’re interfering with the police work,” local police warned on Twitter.

Local media say that a female worshipper alerted the police.

The Vatican has condemned the “barbaric killing” of the priest in the attack.

“We are particularly shocked because this horrible violence took place in a church, in which God’s love is announced,”Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said, according to Reuters.

French President Francois Hollande and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve arrived at the site of the attack.