I just woke up to the news that 2 jihadis have been shot dead by French police after they attacked a Normandy Catholic church and slit the throat of Fr. Jacques Hamel – an 84 year old priest who was in the middle of celebrating mass. They took several hostages, wounding at least 1 other who is reportedly in critical condition.
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.
Another person inside the church was seriously injured and is hovering between life and death, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said.
Police managed to rescue three other people inside the church in the small northwestern town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Brandet told reporters, and the two attackers were killed outside the church.
I know I got burned the other night on the German machete attack when I labeled it a jihadi attack. It turned out to likely have been the result of an unrelated dispute. But French President Hollande has stated that this attack was an act of Islamic terrorism.
“President Hollande said the two terrorists identified themselves as Isil operatives. Speaking outside the church, Mr Hollande described the assault as “an ignoble terrorist attack.”
Mr Hollande said the small community of Saint-Etienne-du Rouvray was “horribly affected by the cowardly murder of the parish priest by two terrorists who claimed to be from Daesh (Isil).”
He praised the police and emergency services for their “extremely rapid intervention, which prevented more deaths and saved lives.”
The situation is being liveblogged by the Telegraph, click here to read the latest as it unfolds.
Update 11pm EDT:
More details have come out regarding today’s attack. The most newsworthy is that one of the attackers was on unsupervised house arrest after multiple failed attempts to travel to Syria and formally join ISIS.
UPDATE 1630 — Arabic sermon given in church before kneeling priest executed France’s Le Figaro reports the eye-witness account of a nun who managed to escape the Normandy church this morning while it was under attack by Islamist killers and raise the alarm. The paper states that one of the “executioners” gave “an Arabic sermon from the altar”, and that deceased Father Jacques Hamel was forced to kneel before the men went for his throat with a knife.
The paper also reports both of the killers had fake guns and imitation explosives.
This partially explains one of my questions as to why others did not try to attack the jihadis whom they outnumbered. It is also possible that like the priest, the nuns who witnessed the attack might have been elderly as well. I have not been able to confirm whether or not there were parishioners at the Mass.
UPDATE 1530 — Arrest Linked to Killer An arrest has been made following this morning’s attack. French police said the man held in custody was connected to the terrorist who has so far only been identified as ‘AK’, who was the killer already known to security services and wearing an electronic tracking device.
These killers almost never act alone. There are dots to connect. Severe punishment must be meted out against anyone who harbors or assists extremists.
UPDATE 1430 — Church was on terror hit list The Saint-Etienne du Rouvray church attacked this morning was on a terror list found on the computer of Sid Ahmed Ghlam in Aprile 2015, according to a report by Britain’s Sun. The paper states the computer came to be examined by the would-be terrorist after he accidentally shot himself in the leg while preparing an attack and called an ambulance in Paris.
The Rouen church was one of a number of places of worship on the Muslim’s lists of targets to hit.
Whatever. Any church, marketplace, public event, or even private space is a potential target.
UPDATE 1400 — Church killer was “known to security services”
At least one of the Islamists who was shot dead by police this morning after killing a Catholic priest was known to French security services. Britain’s Sky News reports one of the killers was even electronically tagged and was being monitored by counter-terrorism officers. Le Figaroreports the killer had tried to travel to Syria in 2015 but was forced to return.
This one is pretty damning. More needs to be done to stop these “known wolves”. There is no excuse whatsoever that someone who had already been arrested for trying to join ISIS should be free amongst the public. I expect there to be some fallout from this one.
As Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds likes to say, “The police are there as much to protect the criminals from a vengeful public who would otherwise take justice into their own hands”. If the people do not believe that the Government is willing or capable of defending them, they will not show the same restraint as civil authorities.
Je suis Charles Martel.