Two armed men hit a French church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during Mass early Tuesday, triggering a hostage situation that eventually led to the death of the church’s octogenarian priest.
The armed assailants took Fr Jacques Hamel, 84, and four other people hostage. In a shootout with police, both assailants were killed, but so was Father Hamel as well.
The BBC reports…
The armed men entered the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during Mass, taking the priest, Fr Jacques Hamel, 84, and four other people hostage.
French TV said shots had been heard after police arrived at the scene. Both hostage-takers are now dead.
Pope Francis decried the “pain and horror of this absurd violence”.
French interior ministry spokesman, Pierre-Henri Brandet, said one of the hostages had been critically wounded.
He said the hostage-takers had been “neutralised” after coming out of the church. Police were now searching the church for explosives.
The area has been cordoned off and police have told people to stay away.