A 21-year-old man who allegedly exchanged messages and met with the two Islamist extremists who killed a Catholic priest last month in France was handed preliminary charges, media reported citing judicial sources.
Arrested on Monday near Toulouse, the man was charged late Friday with criminal association in relation to a terrorist organization, French news agency AFP said. He was kept in custody, the agency reported.
The man had exchanged messages via the encrypted Telegram app with the two killers, and on July 24 met them in the town where the attack took place, Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, the agency reported, citing counterterrorism police sources.
On July 26, Abdel-Malik Nabil Petitjean and Adel Kermiche, both 19, took hostages in the church during morning Mass and killed 85-year-old priest Jacques Hamel with a knife. They also took four other hostages, and were killed by police.
The Islamic State terrorist group claimed the attack.