Two attackers who claimed allegiance to Islamic State (IS) militants killed a priest with a knife inside a Roman Catholic church in France’s Normandy region early on July 26.
Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said the attackers were shot dead by the police when they went outside of the church in St.-Etienne-du-Rouvray.
Authorities said one of the attackers was Adel Kermiche, 19, a French citizen who was under electronic surveillance and house arrest for trying to travel to Syria to join IS twice last year.
They did not give the name of the second attacker, but said he was a 16-year-old Algerian.
Father Jacques Hamel (file photo)
French media reports said the attackers slit the throat of an 85-year-old priest named Jacques Hamel.
Two nuns and some worshippers also reportedly were taken hostage.
The Interior Ministry said one other hostage was injured and was "between life and death."
French President Francois Hollande condemned the killing as a "vile terrorist attack" while the Vatican called it a "barbarous killing."
"To attack a church, to kill a priest, is to profane the republic," Hollande said.
IS claimed responsibility, saying the killers were IS "soldiers."
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said "the whole of France and all Catholics are wounded. We will stand together."
Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, dpa, and Le Monde