France continues to face threats of Islamic terrorism, and on Tuesday, another attack occurred.
During morning Mass at Saint-Etienne parish church, two men stormed the service armed with knives, according to CBS News in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, a village in the northwest of France.
They seized five hostages in the Catholic church, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brande.
The attackers would later be killed by police, but not before seriously wounding one hostage and slitting the throat of an 84-year-old priest, named by CNN as Rev. Jacques Hamel.
Eulalie Garcia told the BBC that she knew Hamel for 35 years. She said he was, “someone who was treasured by the community.”
The imam of the mosque in the same town referred to the priest as “his friend,” according to this clip:
— Luke Coppen (@LukeCoppen) July 26, 2016
The translate of the text is:
The imam of the city “terrified” by the death of his “friend,” the priest
The president of the Regional Council of the Muslim Faith, in charge of the mosque in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, said he was “terrified by the death of my friend,” the priest Jacques Hammel, killed Tuesday morning in his church during a hostage situation.
“I do not understand, all of our prayers are with his family and the Catholic community,” stated Mohammed Karabila.
“This is someone who gives life to others. We are stunned at the mosque,” he added
According to CBS News, the Vatican issued the following statement:
Vatican Spokesman Father Lombardi said, “the Pope has been informed and participates in the sorrow and horror of this absurd violence with a radical condemnation of every form of hate, and prayer for those affected.”
“We are particularly struck because this horrible violence happened in a church, a sacred place in which the love of God is announced,” he continued.
The names of the two attackers have not been released, but the investigation has been turned over to France’s anti-terrorism unit. Reports from French TV channel M6 say at least one of the men was known to the French intelligence services.
Speaking on Tuesday, French Prime Minister François Hollande said the attack was carried “by two terrorists in the name of Daesh,” which is a derogatory reference for ISIS.
The BBC has footage of Hollande below, with translation added:
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) July 26, 2016
ISIS has already claimed the attack:
Islamic State claims its ‘soldiers’ carried out killing of priest during hostage-taking at church in northern France – SITE
— Breaking News (@BreakingNews) July 26, 2016
This latest terrorist situation comes only 12 days after the attack in Nice which killed 84 people. Following that attack, Hollande placed France under another six-month state of emergency and vowed to step up airstrikes in Syria and Iraq against ISIS.
Europe has seen an uptick in terrorist violence over the past month.