Horror in French Church
There is no denying that war had been declared on western civilization. The French who have welcomed so many refugees to their country are now seeing the true price that must be paid when bringing radicalized Muslims into your home and welcoming them with open arms. Unfortunately these horrors will continue as long as we allow them.
~Jason Van Tatenhove
ISIS knifemen forced French priest to kneel and filmed themselves slitting his throat in horror church attack
The terrorists also performed a ‘sermon’ in Arabic as terrified parishioners fled for their lives, says a nun who escaped the attack.
The ISIS terrorists who carried out the France church attack forced an elderly parish priest to kneel before filming themselves slitting his throat, it has emerged.
Father Jacques Hamel, 85, was made to get to his knees before he was brutally butchered at the Church of the Gambetta in Normandy today, says a nun who escaped the attack.
His two murderers – one of whom has been named locally as 19-year-old Adel Kermich – captured the slaying on a mobile phone, according to Sister Danielle, who was one of several worshippers taken hostage during morning mass.
They then performed a ‘sermon’ around the altar in Arabic – as armed cops rushed to the scene and terrified members of the congregation fled for their lives.
Before his death, Father Hamel courageously tried to defend his parishioners, says the distraught nun, who raised the alarm after fleeing the church.
“They [the terrorists] forced him to kneel and he tried to defend himself and that is how the drama started,” she told RMC radio this afternoon.
Father Hamel’s murderers captured the sickening assault on video, says a nun who was held hostage
Speaking to BFM TV, she added that the two men ‘recorded themselves’ carrying out the murder and did ‘a sort of sermon around the altar in Arabic’.
“It’s a horror,” she said of the attack, which ended in the knifemen being shot dead by police after running out of the church shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’.
Sister Danielle said she fled the parish church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near the northern city of Rouen, as one of the terrorists was slitting the priest’s throat. She then raised the alarm by stopping a passing motorist.
Describing the gruesome attack, the nun said: “Everyone was saying, ‘Just stop, you don’t understand what you are doing.’ But it had no effect.
“They forced us to get on our knees and he [Father Hamel] wanted to defend us. That’s when the violence started.
“Me, I realised the moment he started attacking Jacques, when he put him on his knees and almost made him fall over.
“It was then that I was able to escape. I got out quickly. They were busy attacking him with the knife, so they didn’t see me leaving.
“Everybody screamed. They recorded what they were doing. It was like a prayer, a sermon at the altar in Arabic.”
The assailants, who were both on a terrorist watch-list, were shot dead by balaclava-wearing BRI police commandos after sprinting out of the church.
Witnesses say they heard the men scream ‘Allahu Akbar’ as they came out of the building. One was described as bearded and wearing a Muslim skullcap.
Bomb disposal units were later sent into the church to check for explosives.
This afternoon, French police arrested a teenager, known only as ‘HB’, in connection with the attack after raiding his home in the town following the church rampage.
Photos of the arrest show the 17-year-old boy – believed to be related to one of the suspects – being guided to a police car, with a piece of black fabric over his head.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the shocking attack, which saw four people taken hostage – one of whom is fighting for their life in hospital.
These hostages, who are yet to be identified, were also forced to kneel at the altar by their captors, before one of them – believed to be a second nun – was gravely injured.
Speaking at the scene of the killing in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray today, President Francois Hollande said the terror group had declared war on France.
Describing the grisly slaying as a ‘cowardly assassination’, he added that the state should ‘use all its means’ within the law to fight ISIS.
The president also called the killing a ‘dreadful terrorist attack’ and told reporters the attackers had pledge allegiance to the militant group.
“The threat remains very high,” Hollande said.
The ISIS news agency Amaq confirmed two of its ‘soldiers’ were involved.
The attack was the latest in a string of deadly assaults, including the mass killing in Nice, southern France, on Bastille Day 12 days ago, and four incidents in Germany.
The most recent of these was a suicide bombing at a concert in Ansbach on Sunday.
During today’s assault, the two knifeman stormed the church through a rear door during morning mass, before taking a number of hostages, eyewitnesses say.
They then filmed themselves forcing Father Hamel to kneel before butchering him with a blade – as anti-terror cops surrounded the building.
The terrorists, who also made two nuns and two worshippers kneel on the ground, were later shot dead by police after emerging into the courtyard outside.
As bomb squad officers searched the church for possible booby-traps, one member of the congregation was rushed to hospital ‘between life and death’.
Their current condition is unclear. Another worshipper was said to have been less severely hurt.
The body of Father Hamel – who was ordained in 1958 – was found inside the church after the slaying.
Mourners have since paid tribute to the much-loved elderly priest, who was an assistant at the church and only taking mass because the parish priest was away on holiday.
Many of them have posted pictures of him on Twitter, showing him wearing his Catholic robes.
Resident Eulalie Garcia, who works in a beauty parlour next to the church, said Father Hamel was ‘treasured’ by all those who knew him.
She said: “My family has lived here for 35 years. He was someone who was treasured by the community.”
The Vatican described the priest’s killing as ‘barbarous’, made even worse because it was carried out in a ‘sacred place’.
Earlier today, it emerged that the Church of the Gambetta was on the ‘kill list’ of a suspected ISIS terrorist arrested last year.
Sid Ahmed Ghlam, 24, was arrested last April when he called an ambulance in Paris after shooting himself in the leg.
Investigators believe he was a terrorist planning ‘imminent attacks’ in France on the instructions of ISIS leaders.
They found the body of a woman in his car along with an arsenal of weapons including Kalashnikovs and a police-issue pistol.
Documents found at his flat suggested he was in contact with a Frenchman in Syria who had told him to carry out attacks on churches.
These included the Sacre-Couer in Paris and churches including the one in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray targeted yesterday.
Ghlam, an Algerian student, is currently in prison awaiting trial for murder, attempted murder and terrorism offences.
There is no suggestion he was involved in carrying out today’s attack.
It also earlier emerged that one of the attackers was a convicted terrorist who was meant to be living with his parents with an electronic tag on his ankle.
Kermich was arrested in Geneva last year after being expelled from Turkey for trying to join ISIS in Syria for the second time.
He was convicted of terrorist offences in France and sent to jail before being freed in March on a tag.
Prosecutors had opposed his release but were overruled by judges, according to local reports.
The conditions of his release included living with his parents, wearing a tag and reporting to his local police station.
But crucially he was only subject to a curfew between 12.30pm and 8.30am – allowing him to carry out this morning’s attack, which took place between 9.45am and 11am.
It is understood Kermich was radicalised after the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris in January last year.
He was also an associate of Maxime Hauchard, a French jihadist who appeared in an ISIS execution video of U.S aid worker Peter Kassig.
Hauchard, now known as Abu Abdullah al-Faransi, regularly worshipped at a mosque in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.
He travelled to Syria in August 2013 and is still believed to be in the war-torn region.
Both Kermich and the other terrorist who carried out today’s attack were on an anti-terrorist ‘S’ watch-list compiled by French officials.
Questions will now be asked about how the attackers was able to carry out the murder despite being known to the authorities.
France’s security services have been regularly criticised for the way they allow known terrorists their freedom after being found guilty of crimes.
The hostages were taken at the Church of the Gambetta in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray
Earlier today, Prime Minister Theresa May offered her ‘condolences to the French people following the sickening attack in Northern France this morning’.
She said it was important to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder with France’.
She said: “We offer them every support we have in dealing with this issue and this threat that they, and the rest of us, are facing.
“They are trying to destroy our way of life. They are trying to destroy our values. We have shared values and those values will win through and the terrorists will not win.”
Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls described the attack as ‘barbaric’, adding: “We will stand together.”
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who visited the scene, said he felt ‘horror at this barbarity and great solidarity with all Catholics in France in this moment of trial’.
And former PM Jean-Pierre Raffarin tweeted: “Everything is being done to trigger a war of religions”.
Pope Francis also spoke out after this morning’s murder, saying he shared the “sorry and horror” felt over the “barbaric” terror attack.
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby urged people to “Pray for France, for victims, for their communities.”
And confirming Father Hamel’s death, the Archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, said: “I cry to God with all men of good will.
“The only arms which the Catholic Church can take up are prayer and brotherhood between men.”
The Archbishop cut short a visit to Poland to return to his diocese, The investigation into the killing is being carried out by the anti-terrorist unit of the Paris prosecutor’s office.
It is the same team probing links between ISIS and the Bastille Day attack in Nice.
Seven people remain in custody suspected of helping Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel carry out the truck massacre.