Teen under house arrest identified as one of French church attackers

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French investigators on Tuesday identified one of two terrorists who attacked a church in Normandy, killing an elderly priest by slitting his throat, as a 19-year-old who was under house arrest for two failed attempts to reach Syria.

French Prosecutor François Molins said Adel Kermiche was wearing an electronic surveillance bracelet when he and an accomplice entered the parish in the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, killing Father Jacques Hamel and wounding a hostage.

Both assailants were shot dead by police as they emerged from the church.

Kermiche was first arrested in March 2015 by German police when he tried to use his brother’s identification to travel to Syria. He was returned to his family home, but ran away again one month later.

He was again detained, this time in Turkey, and sent back to France via Switzerland in May 2015. The 19-year-old spent the next several months in a French prison before his release under house arrest and electronic surveillance.

Molins said the bracelet was deactivated for a few hours every morning, corresponding with the time of the attack.

The second assailant has not been formally identified but a minor was taken into custody on Tuesday morning in connection with the incident.

Nun alerts police

Molins said the assault began at the Saint-Etienne church at 9:25am. The knife-wielding attackers stormed the church taking Father Hamel, three nuns and two parishioners hostage.

One of the nuns managed to escape and call police, who, upon arrival, tried to negotiate with the hostage-takers through a small door.

But police were unable to launch an assault on the church as three hostages were lined up in front of the door, Molins said.

The hostages, two nuns and one worshipper, then exited the church followed by the two attackers, one carrying a handgun, who charged police shouting "Allahu Akbar", or “God is great”, before officers opened fire.

Both attackers were carrying knives and “fake explosive devices covered in aluminium foil".

IS group claims attack

The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack via its Amaq news agency, saying two of their “soldiers” had responded “to the call to target” Western countries.

It was the extremist group's first attack against a church in the West, and fulfills longstanding threats against "crusaders" in what the militants paint as a centuries-old battle for power.

Hollande slams 'vile terrorist attack'

French President François Hollande said killing a priest was a “desecration of French democracy”, in an address to the nation on Tuesday evening.

The incident comes as France is under high alert after an attack in Nice that killed 84 people and a string of deadly attacks last year claimed by the IS group.

Date created : 2016-07-26

نویسنده : بازدید : 17 تاريخ : چهارشنبه 6 مرداد 1395 ساعت: 10:00
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