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ISIS terrorists killed a Catholic priest and took several hostages during a worship service in France.

Shouting “Allahu Akbar,” two Muslim attackers with knives on Tuesday assaulted and executed a Catholic priest in the French city of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen.

A nun who was in the church during the attack told local media the priest was “forced to his knees” before his throat was slit and that the terrorists recorded the attack on video.

“He wanted to defend himself. And that’s when the tragedy happened,” said the nun, who identified herself as Sister Danielle. “They did a sort of sermon around the altar, in Arabic. It’s a horror.”

The assailants were shot and killed by police as they emerged from the church, according to authorities.

French President Francois Hollande said in a statement that ISIS “has declared war on us.”

“We must fight this war by all means, while respecting the rule of law – what makes us a democracy,” he said.

Hollande said the attack was a “cowardly assassination” carried out by “by two terrorists in the name of Daesh” – another name for ISIS.

The victim of the horrific slashing attack was identified as Father Jacques Hamel.

Jacques Hamel, the 86-year-old Catholic priest slain in an ISIS attack in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France.

Jacques Hamel, the 86-year-old Catholic priest slain in an ISIS attack in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France.

He died at the scene, and several others were injured, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet.

ISIS immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out by two ISIS “soldiers,” Fox News reported.

“The people of France should know that they are under threat but they are not the only country, there is Germany and others, and that their strength lies in their solidarity.” Hollande told reporters.

Mohammed Karabila, head of the Regional Council of the Muslim Faith for Haute-Normanie, told the Associated Press that the attacker already had been under the eye of authorities.

Kermiche

Adel Kermiche

“The person that did this odious act is known, and he has been followed by the police for at least a year and a half,” he said.

One of the attackers has been identified as convicted terrorist Adel Kermiche, 19, who tried to travel to Syria in 2015 but was turned away at the Turkish border and jailed in France, according to a French media report.

Despite the protests of prosecutors, he was eventually released and ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device. He was also allowed to leave his home near the church during certain hours of the day.

What if 9/11 was not just a senseless act of terror, but also a deliberate divine judgment of immense prophetic significance? “The 9/11 Prophecy” makes the case through Scripture, history and amazing current events

He and his accomplice – also known to French police – went into a back door at the church and took several hostages, including parishioners, nuns and the priest, in the middle of morning Mass.

Police said they “neutralized” the attackers when they arrived on the scene, and several hostages were in good condition.

A third man, a 17-year-old believed to be a relative of Kermiche, was arrested at his home in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray following the attack, according to the Daily Mail.

The mayor’s office said in a statement: “A barbaric act was committed in our town this morning. Our priest was assassinated, and a hostage was severely injured. We are devastated. This emotion goes beyond our town. It plunges our entire country in a deep pain, only days after the attack in Nice.

“The mayor and the entire municipality calls upon you all that are attached to the values of our republic to come and express your emotion, pain and indignation,” the mayor’s office added.

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The Vatican called the situation an act of “absurd violence” and said that Pope Francis strongly condemned “every form of hate” and “prayed” for the victims affected.

“Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a statement Tuesday that the attack hits particularly hard ‘because this horrific violence took place in a church, a sacred place in which the love of God is announced, and the barbaric murder of a priest and the involvement of the faithful,'” Fox News reported.

 

National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the U.S. “condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific terrorist attack today.”

“France and the United States share a commitment to protecting religious liberty for those of all faiths, and today’s violence will not shake that commitment,” Price said. “We commend French law enforcement for their quick and decisive response and stand ready to assist the French authorities in their investigation going forward.”

France already was in a state of high alert because of the July 14 Bastille Day attack in Nice that left 84 dead. Nearly 150 others have been killed in France over the last year or so in a string of terrorist attacks.

According to the London Daily Mail, the attackers cut the throat of the 86-year-old priest.

The Mail said the priest had been “beheaded” and noted that the church was one of several Catholic sites “on a terrorist ‘hit list’ found on a suspected ISIS extremist in April.”

“Evil attacks the weakest, denies truth and love, is defeated through Jesus Christ. Pray for France, for victims, for their communities,” said Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in a report in the Mail.

The church was one of a number of Catholic churches on an ISIS "hit list."

The church was one of a number of Catholic churches on an ISIS “hit list.”

Hollande noted the ongoing danger.

“The threat remains very high,” said Hollande in the Mail report. “We are confronted with a group, Daesh, which has declared war on us. We have to wage war by every means, (but through) upholding the law, which is because we are a democracy.”

The Mail listed a “year of bloodshed” from terrorism. The incidents include the July 24 bombing near an open-air music festival in Ansbach that wounded a dozen, the attack in Reutlingen by a Syrian refugee who killed a woman with a large knife at a snack bar and the July 22 Munich mall shooting in which David Ali Sonboly, 18, shot and killed nine people before killing himself.

Then there was a train axe attack on July 18 blamed on a “17-year-old migrant.” Four were injured.

On July 14, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel of Tunisia drove a massive truck into a crowd of people in Nice, France, killing 84. The attack was claimed by ISIS.

At the Brussels airport and a nearby metro station, 32 were killed on March 22 when suicide attackers exploded themselves. And last November, coordinated suicide attacks in Paris claimed by ISIS killed 130 people and wounded more than 350 at a concert hall, cafes and the national stadium.

What if 9/11 was not just a senseless act of terror, but also a deliberate divine judgment of immense prophetic significance? “The 9/11 Prophecy” makes the case through Scripture, history and amazing current events

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