A PRIEST has been beheaded and a nun is ‘fighting for her life’ after two knife-wielding terrorists, reportedly shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’, took several worshippers hostage at a church in northern France.
A third suspect has reportedly been arrested outside the church after a pair of ‘bearded’ attackers were shot and killed after raiding a Catholic mass at 9am in the French town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen in Normandy.
Father Jacques Hamel, believed to be 86-years-old, was the priest slaughtered by the duo as A’maq news agency, which is affiliated with ISIS, has officially reported that “two soldiers of the Islamic State” carried out the savage attack.
Supporters of the depraved death cult are celebrating the horrific attack at the church which was reportedly on a terrorist ‘hit list’which it is claimed French police have known about since April 2015 – following the arrest of an extremist in Paris last year.
According to security sources, one of the attackers was a convicted ‘electronic tag wearing’ terrorist living with his parents.
The astonishing revelation – made on French news channel I-Tele – claims one of the terrorists lived close to the church and fled to Syria in 2015 to join the Islamic State, but was arrested in Turkey.
He was jailed for terrorist offenses following a short trial in France, before being released on March 2 this year.
Bail conditions included returning to live with his parents, wearing an electronic tag, and reporting to his local police station.
French president Francois Hollande, who has arrived in the town following the attack, said the men “claimed to be from” ISIS and reiterated that France is at war with the terror group.
The terror attackers, who reportedly shouted ‘Daesh’ which is another name for ISIS, were gunned down by police after emerging from the church after the incident which lasted for around 40 minutes.
The horrifying hostage incident is being investigated as a terror attack.
In chaotic scenes, emergency services have been pictured stretchering an unidentified person into an ambulance.
Witnesses heard several shots fired as police cordoned off the scene telling onlookers to stay away.
French President Francois Hollande and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve have arrived in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray in Normandie following the terrifying hostage attack.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has expressed “horror at the barbaric attack”.
A Vatican spokesman said Pope Francis shares the “pain and horror” of the incident and condemned the “absurd violence” of the terrorists.
This is the latest incident to shock France following the Bastille Day massacre in Nice on July 14 and the terrorist attacks in Paris last November.
A source, who lives locally, said: “A third nun escaped and raised the alarm, and anti-terrorists officers were on the scene within minutes.
“It appears that the priest who was celebrating the service was attacked first, and had his throat cut.
“The area around the church was sealed off, and then armed officers appeared with their weapons. I heard at least a dozen shots.”
Units attending include the elite RAID, the anti-terrorist unit that was heavily involved in the Paris attacks, in which almost 150 people were murdered.