DISGUSTING: Christian priest in France taken hostage by ISIS, then beheaded in church

What a horrible story to wake up to this morning.

An elderly Christian priest in France, Jacques Hamel, was killed this morning by ISIS soldiers in a gruesome attack. Reports are that Hamel was either beheaded or had his throat slit after being taken hostage with several others inside his own church.


BOSTON GLOBE – Two attackers took hostages inside a French church during morning Mass on Tuesday near the city of Rouen, killing an 86-year-old priest by slitting his throat before being shot and killed by police, French officials said. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.

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.

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.’’

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.

Turns out the church was on an ISIS hit list:

THE SUN – The church where a priest was murdered by Islamist knifemen was on a ‘hit list’ found on an alleged ISIS terrorist arrested last year. Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray was one of a number of Catholic churches singled out for attacks by the terror group.

Here are more details from the Telegraph:

A local resident contacted by telephone who saw the two attackers leave the church said they shouted “Allahu Akhbar” before being shot by police. The resident, who gave her name as Sylvie, declined to be identified by her surname.

The priest, named locally as Jacques Hamel, was said to be a pillar of the Normandy community and has been a priest since 1958.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said the other victim of the Normandy siege, understood to be a male churchgoer, is “hovering between life and death.”

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