Priest killed after two attackers take hostages in French church

An 84-year-old priest was killed Tuesday at a church in northern France where two armed assailants took five hostages and were subsequently killed by police.

The hostage takers were "neutralized" by police while leaving a church, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said without giving details on possible motives for the attack.

One hostage was killed and an injured person remained "between life and death," Brandet said, adding that the other three were safe.

IN a statement calling for peace, Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of the nearby city of Rouen said that Father Jacques Hamel had been killed.

The anti-terrorism section of the Paris prosecutor's office took over the investigation into the hostage situation that began at about 9:45 am (0745 GMT).

Brandet said areas inside and around the church were being checked for explosives.

French President Francois Hollande was en route to the site of the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in the north-eastern region of Upper Normandy, accompanied by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

France is on high alert after a series of terrorist attacks, the most recent one on Bastille Day in the southern city of Nice that left 84 people dead.

"We are in a period where everything is possible; the worst is possible," Georges Fenech, a conservative lawmaker who headed the parliamentary inquiry into the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, told BFMTV broadcaster.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he was, "horrified by this barbaric attack at a church in Seine-Maritime. All of France and all Catholics are wounded. We stand together."

In depth coverage

Two hostage takers at church in France "neutralized," police say

Two people who held five hostages at a church in northern France on Tuesday morning were "neutralized" as they left the church armed, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

Read more
Last update: Tue, 26/07/2016 - 13:50

Hostage taking under way at church in northern France

A hostage situation is under way at a church in northern France, local officials said Tuesday.

Read more
Last update: Tue, 26/07/2016 - 13:50
Last update: Tue, 26/07/2016 - 13:49
Author: 

More from Europe

Austria to veto further EU accession talks with Turkey

Austria will block the continuation of EU talks with Ankara over Turkey's future membership in the bloc, Austrian...

Diplomats call for ceasefire in Aleppo at Paris meet

Foreign ministry officials from the West and the Middle East meeting in Paris Saturday for talks on Syria have...

French government seeks to extend state of emergency to July 2017

The French government said Saturday it would ask parliament to approve an extension to the country's state of...

No agreement reached between Russia, Ukraine on gas deliveries

Russian and Ukrainian officials failed to reach an agreement on gas deliveries this winter in a first round of EU-...

Britain jails man for posting Islamic State video on Facebook

A British court sentenced a 31-year-old man to two years in prison on Friday after he was convicted of encouraging...