According to reports in France, an 84-year-old priest has been beheaded and another hostage is ‘fighting for their life’ after two knife-wielding terrorists, reportedly shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’, took two nuns and several worshippers hostage at a church in northern France.
A third suspect has reportedly been arrested outside the church after a pair of ‘bearded’ attackers were shot and killed after raiding a Catholic mass at 9am in the French town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen.
Local media claims Father Jacques Hamel, believed to be 86-years-old, was the priest slaughtered. Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen later confirmed that Father Jacques Hamel had been killed in the attack this morning.
A nun who was in the church during the attack said the priest was forced to the ground before his throat was slit.
‘They forced him to his knees. He wanted to defend himself. And that’s when the tragedy happened,’ said the nun, identified as Sister Danielle.
‘They recorded themselves. They did a sort of sermon around the altar, in Arabic. It’s a horror,’ she told BFM television.
The Vatican also has confirmed the reports and issued a statement saying that Pope Francis is “horrified and shocked by the attack.
“We are particularly shocked because this horrible violence took place in a Church, in which God’s love is announced, with the barbarous killing of a priest and the involvement of the faithful” the statement read.
Live feed from the scene via the DailyMail: