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Story 1: Islamic State Radical Islamic Terrorist Attack Slits Throat of 84 Year Old Catholic Priest–Both Attackers Were Killed — Videos — 

BREAKING NEWS: France Church Attack: Priest Killed In Hostage Taking Near Rouen

Priest Killed In France By ISIS In Church During Mass

MUSLIMS ‘BEHEAD’ PRIEST IN NORMANDY CHURCH – Shout “Allahu Akbar!” – ISIS CELEBRATES

France: Terror Attack on a Church in Normandy

France church attack: who was Father Jacques Hamel, the priest slain by ISIS terrorists?

LIVE from Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray following hostage situation

Islamist knifemen forced priest, 84, to kneel and filmed his death as they slit his throat: Hollande says ‘France is at war with ISIS’ after jihadists storm French church during Mass chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’

  • Priest had throat cut while another hostage is fighting for life after knifemen burst into Normandy church at 9am
  • Reports that one of the attackers shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ as they launched assault at Gambetta Church near Rouen
  • Vatican has condemned the ‘barbaric’ killing of the 84-year-old priest and an anti-terror investigation is underway
  • ISIS claim responsibility for the atrocity while Francois Hollande says France is ‘at war’ with the terror group
  • The attackers lived locally and one had electronic tag having been jailed in France for trying to travel to Syria
  • French authorities revealed this afternoon that they have arrested a third man in connection with the attack
  • Nicolas Sarkozy calls for ‘merciless’ response as ex-PM said ‘everything is being done to trigger a war of religions’

Two ISIS knifemen who stormed a church in Normandy forced an elderly priest to kneel before filming themselves butchering him and performing a ‘sermon in Arabic’ at the altar, a terrified witness has revealed.

The attackers, claimed as ‘soldiers’ by ISIS, were both known to French police before they cut the throat of 84-year-old priest Jacques Hamel at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen.

Both were shot dead by police marksmen as they emerged from the building shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ following the attack that also left a nun critically injured.

French President Francois Hollande, who visited the scene today, said the country is now ‘at war’ with ISIS after the terror group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Scroll down for video

Adel Kermiche (pictured in 2011), 19, has been named as one of the two ISIS knifemen who stormed into a church in Normandy and cut the throat of an 84-year-old Catholic priest before being shot dead by police

Adel Kermiche (pictured in 2011), 19, has been named as one of the two ISIS knifemen who stormed into a church in Normandy and cut the throat of an 84-year-old Catholic priest before being shot dead by police

A French policeman cordons off the area around the body of one of the two knifemen who stormed into a Normandy church and butchered an 84-year-old priest, as well as critically injuring a nun

A French policeman cordons off the area around the body of one of the two knifemen who stormed into a Normandy church and butchered an 84-year-old priest, as well as critically injuring a nun

French authorities say they have arrested a third man in connection with the attack. Armed police are pictured making an arrest at a house in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray

French authorities say they have arrested a third man in connection with the attack. Armed police are pictured making an arrest at a house in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray

The two killers, who shouted 'Allahu Akbar' were shot dead by police marksmen as they emerged from the building, which was later searched for bombs. Police later raided a house in the area and made an arrest

An 84-year-old priest, named as Jacques Hamel, had his throat cut in a Normandy church this morning in an attack that also left a nun critically injured and both jihadis dead

An 84-year-old priest, named as Jacques Hamel, had his throat cut in a Normandy church this morning in an attack that also left a nun critically injured and both jihadis dead

One of the killers was a French 19-year-old named as Adel Kermiche, who was being monitored by electronic tag after being jailed for twice attempting to join ISIS in Syria.

After being released from jail early, his bail terms allowed him to be unsupervised between 8.30am and 12.30pm. The attack happened between 9am and 11am.

He is understood to have forced the elderly priest to kneel while his accomplice, who also lived locally and was on a terrorist watchlist, filmed the brutal killing.

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

The Catholic church involved was on a terrorist ‘hit list’ found in the apartment of a suspected ISIS extremist last April.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for a ‘merciless’ response to the killing while ‘horrified’ ex-Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said he feared ‘everything is being done to trigger a war of religions’.

A nun who was in the church during the attack said the priest was forced to the ground before his throat was slit.

‘They forced him to his knees. He wanted to defend himself. And that’s when the tragedy happened,’ said the nun, identified as Sister Danielle.

‘They recorded themselves. They did a sort of sermon around the altar, in Arabic. It’s a horror,’ she told BFM television.

The murdered clergyman was deputising while the regular parish priest was on holiday, it emerged this afternoon.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement published by its Aamaq news agency. It said the killing was carried out by ‘two soldiers of the Islamic State.’ It added the killing was in response to its calls to target countries of the US-led coalition which is fighting ISIS.

French President Francois Hollande, visiting the scene of the attack, appealed for ‘unity’ in France, where political blame-trading has poisoned the aftermath of the Nice truck attack, the third major strike in the country in 18 months.

Units attending including the elite RAID, the anti-terrorist unit that was heavily involved in the Paris attacks last year, in which almost 150 people were murdered

Units attending including the elite RAID, the anti-terrorist unit that was heavily involved in the Paris attacks last year, in which almost 150 people were murdered

French president Francois Hollande (pictured embracing the town's mayor Hubert Wulfranc) said France is 'at war' with ISIS while the terror group has claimed responsibility for the killing

French president Francois Hollande (pictured embracing the town’s mayor Hubert Wulfranc) said France is ‘at war’ with ISIS while the terror group has claimed responsibility for the killing

The clergyman was knifed to death during the attack while another hostage is fighting for their life in hosptial. The two attackers have been ‘neutralised’ by elite marksmen in a dramatic police operation

Lock down: The area was cordoned off and soldiers were called to the scene as a search for explosives got underway at the church today

President Hollande speaks in Normandy after Hostage attack

‘The threat remains very high,’ said Mr Hollande. ‘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.’

Ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, expected to enter a conservative primary soon for next year’s presidential election, jumped on the latest incident to accuse the Socialist government of being soft on terrorism.

HOSTAGE SIEGE IN FRENCH CHURCH

– Two knifemen entered church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy, around 9.45am local time by a back door during mass

– Nuns and worshippers taken hostage – one seriously injured

– Father Jacques Hamel killed after reportedly having his throat slashed

– Suspects shot dead by French police

– ISIS claims responsibility for the attacsaying it was carried out by two soldiers

– French prosecutors detain one person as part of investigation into attack

– Francois Hollande pledges to fight ISIS ‘using all means possible’

‘We must be merciless,’ Sarkozy said in a statement to reporters. ‘The legal quibbling, precautions and pretexts for insufficient action are not acceptable. I demand that the government implement without delay the proposals we presented months ago. There is no more time to be wasted.’

Jean-Pierre Raffarin, a former conservative prime minister who now heads the Senate’s foreign affairs committee, added in a tweet: ‘Horror. Everything is being done to trigger a war of religions.’

Pope Francis has expressed his ‘pain and horror’ at the incident with a spokesman saying the Pontiff was appalled by the ‘barbaric killing’ because it happened in a sacred place.

He expressed his condemnation of ‘every form of hatred’ and offered his prayers to those involved.

Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi described it as another act of ‘absurd violence’.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: ‘Evil attacks the weakest, denies truth and love, is defeated through Jesus Christ. Pray for France, for victims, for their communities.’

Experts claimed that the latest attack fulfilled a two-year-old ISIS pledge to attack Christians within Europe.

The terror group has previously made clear its intention to target Christians across the world, even calling for the assassination of Pope Francis.

‘The Islamic State is persistently demoralising European unity by launching divisive attacks within its borders – the most recent attack on the Catholic Church aims directly at the French sense of identity,’ Veryan Khan, editorial director for the US-based Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, told Fox News.

The two men held the priest and congregation of four – which included two nuns – hostage for almost an hour before being shot as they emerged on to the courtyard of the church.

A nun later gave a chilling eye-witness account of her escape.

A priest, two nuns and two churchgoers were among those held after the men rushed into the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in Normandy, France, during a morning service, soon after 9am.

A priest, two nuns and two churchgoers were among those held after the men rushed into the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in Normandy, France, during a morning service, soon after 9am.

The two ISIS killers forced elderly priest Jacques Hamel to his knees before filming themselves cutting his throat, according to witnesses

 Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen later confirmed that Father Jacques Hamel (pictured) had been killed in the attack this morning

 Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen later confirmed that Father Jacques Hamel (pictured) had been killed in the attack this morning

French President Francois Hollande (pictured visiting the scene of the attack today), appealed for 'unity' in France

It comes as it emerged that the building (top centre) was one of a number of Catholic churches on a terrorist 'hit list' found on a suspected ISIS extremist last April

Between four and six people were being held by the assailants in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near the city of Rouen

She was at the church when the terrorists stormed in, but managed to escape before the clergyman was murdered.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous when talking to Le Figaro, said: ‘They came suddenly. They took space. They spoke Arabic. I saw a knife.

‘I left when they began to attack Father Jacques. I do not even know if they realised that I was leaving.’

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Paris had earlier said that the men had crept into the church via a back entrance during a morning service, soon after 9am. The two men seized the priest, two sisters from a local order, and two parishioners.

‘A third nun escaped and raised the alarm, and anti-terrorists officers were on the scene within minutes,’ said a source who lives locally. ‘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.’

The siege officially ended at around 11am, following the shooting of the two attackers.

French authorities admitted that both of the attackers were subject to security ‘S’ files, meaning both were known terror suspects who should have been under surveillance.

Convicted terrorist Kermiche was meant to be living with his parents in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray with an electronic tag on his ankle, after spending time in prison in both France and Switzerland.

He was known to have been a friend of Maxime Hauchard, a French jihadi involved in the beheading of Americans in Syria.

Hauchard, now 24, has appeared unmasked in ISIS videos showing the slaughter of captives from the USA and from Syria.

French security sources said Kermiche met Hauchard close to his home village of Le Bosc-Roger-en-Roumois, in Normandy.

Normandy attacker Adel Kermiche was known to have been a friend of Maxime Hauchard (pictured in a video that showed the beheading of Americans in Syria), a French jihadi involved in the beheading of Americans in Syria

Normandy attacker Adel Kermiche was known to have been a friend of Maxime Hauchard (pictured in a video that showed the beheading of Americans in Syria), a French jihadi involved in the beheading of Americans in Syria

FRANCOIS HOLLANDE: WE ARE AT WAR WITH ISIS AND THE THREAT OF FURTHER ATTACK IS STILL EXTREMELY HIGH

French president Francois Hollande has pledged to fight the ISIS ‘using all means possible’ after an attack on a church in Normandy which resulted in the murder of an 84-year-old priest.

Father Jacques Hamel was reported to have had his throat slashed during an hour-long hostage-taking incident which began as two knifemen burst into the parish church by a back door during morning mass.

Speaking after meeting emergency workers and the town mayor in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Mr Hollande named ISIS – also known as Daesh – as the source of the threat to French people.

‘We are facing yet another trial, because this threat is extremely high and still remains very high after all we’ve lived through over the past few days and the past two years,’ he said.

‘We are faced with a group, Daesh, that has actually declared war, and we have to fight this war using all means possible. Of course we have to respect the rule of law, because we are a democracy.’

Mr Hollande called for unity between French Catholics and members of other communities, and announced he will meet leaders of a range of faiths on Wednesday.

French president Francois Hollande has pledged to fight the ISIS 'using all means possible' after an attack on a church in Normandy which resulted in the murder of an 84-year-old priest

French president Francois Hollande has pledged to fight the ISIS ‘using all means possible’ after an attack on a church in Normandy which resulted in the murder of an 84-year-old priest

‘What these terrorists want to do is to divide us, and today after the death of this priest I am thinking of all the Catholics of France and expressing my support,’ he said.

‘It’s not only Catholics who are involved, all the French people are involved, and that’s why we must ensure cohesion. Nobody should be able to break it.’

Mr Hollande warned: ‘Today we must be aware that the terrorists will not give up as long as we don’t stop them. That’s our will and that’s what we are doing tirelessly.

‘The French people must realise that they are threatened. They are not the only country – Germany is also threatened – but their strength really is in cohesion.’

Religious leaders issued messages of sympathy and solidarity in the wake of the killing.

In a statement, the Vatican said Pope Francis shares the ‘sorrow and horror’ felt over the incident, adding: ‘We are particularly struck because this horrible violence has occurred in a church – a sacred place where we pronounce God’s love – with the barbaric murder of a priest and worshippers affected.’

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: ‘Evil attacks the weakest, denies truth and love, is defeated through Jesus Christ. Pray for France, for victims, for their communities.’

The Archbishop of Rouen Dominique Lebrun, who cut short a visit to Poland to return to his diocese and was due to meet Mr Hollande on Tuesday evening, 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.’

Mr Hollande said he had come to express ‘the solidarity of the whole nation’ with the community affected by the ‘cowardly assassination’ of Father Hamel.

He said he had spoken with the priest’s family, as well as with some of the hostages, who expressed ‘pain and sadness and also their will to understand why this should happen’.

The president paid tribute to the emergency and security services, who he said had intervened ‘extremely quickly’ to avert further bloodshed and to assist the people who had been taken hostage.

It raises the possibility that Kermiche was inspired by Hauchard to carry out today’s attack in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.

Hauchard took on the nom de guerre Abu Abdallah el-Faransi, and regularly posts photos on social media of himself carrying weapons.

In July 2014 Hauchard gave an interview to BFMTV in which he described how he became interested in Islam via the internet and how he travelled to Syria to help create a caliphate.

French investigators said Hauchard received religious training in Mauritania in 2012, then went to Syria via the Turkish town of Gaziantep, posing as a humanitarian worker.

In March 2015, while still a minor, Kermiche tried to reach the terror group’s base in Syria via Germany, but was arrested in Munich.

He was placed under judicial control with his parents, but after his 18th birthday again tried to return to the Middle East.

Accompanied by two childhood friends, Kermiche. headed to Switzerland overland and then took a plane to Turkey, hoping to cross the border into Syria.

Turkish police deported him back to Switzerland and, after being sent back to his hometown, he was tried and found guilty of ‘associating with a terrorist enterprise’ on May 22 2015.

After spending less than a year of his two-and-a-half-year sentence in prison, he was released on March 22 this year.

A prosecutor appealed the decision to release Kermiche, but he was released on bail on condition that he again stayed with his mother and father.

According to his bail conditions, Kermiche. was also allowed to go out unsupervised between 8.30am and 12.30pm every day.

The revelation – made to the French TV news channel I-Tele – will cause further outrage in a country devastated by constant security failings.

French security services have been regularly criticised for the way they allow known terrorists their freedom after being found guilty of crimes.

Units attending the scene this morning included the elite RAID, the anti-terrorist unit that was heavily involved in the Paris attacks last year, in which almost 150 people were murdered.

A French policeman arrests a man following a search in a house in the Normandy city of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvra. It came after a priest was butchered at a church in the town

A French policeman arrests a man following a search in a house in the Normandy city of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvra. It came after a priest was butchered at a church in the town

Arrest: The man was pictured being bundled into a police car after a raid on a house in the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray

French authorities are trying to determine whether the two men involved in the sickening attack had accomplices

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said police were searching the church and its perimeter for possible explosives and terrorism investigators had been summoned.

Anti-terrorist judges immediately opened an investigation in to today’s attack, as President Francois Hollande and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve attended the scene.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls tweeted that he was ‘horrified at the barbaric attack’ adding: ‘All France and all Catholics are bruised.’

And at a press conference in Downing Street, Prime Minister Theresa May offered ‘my condolences to the French people following the sickening attack in Northern France this morning’, adding: ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.’

‘We all face a terror threat. If you look at the national threat level here in the United Kingdom, it is at severe. That means that a terrorist attack is highly likely.

‘What is necessary is for us all to work together, and stand shoulder to shoulder with France. We offer them every support we have in dealing with this issue and this threat that they, and the rest of us, are facing.

‘But on one thing, I think, we are all absolutely clear, and that is the terrorists will not prevail.

‘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.’

A number of shots were heard over a period of around 15 seconds as the incident came to an end.

Eulalie Garcia, who works in a beauty parlour, is on the same road as the church, and told reporters that she knew the priest, who had taught her the catechism as a young girl.

‘My family has lived here for 35 years and we have always known him,’ she said. ‘He was someone who was treasured by the community. He was very discreet and didn’t like to draw attention to himself.’

Two men armed with knives took several people hostage at Church of the Gambetta (pictured) in France's northern Normandy region on Tuesday, a police source said

French President Francois Hollande (centre) flanked by Hubert Wulfranc mayor of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray (left) and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve (right), speaks to the press as he leaves the Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray's city hall

This morning it emerged Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray was one of a number of Catholic churches on a terrorist 'hit list' found on a suspected ISIS terrorist. Police stand on guard in the town

This morning it emerged Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray was one of a number of Catholic churches on a terrorist ‘hit list’ found on a suspected ISIS terrorist. Police stand on guard in the town

She said she was very shocked by the death of the priest, who lived opposite his church. ‘It can happen to anyone,’ she said.

Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen later confirmed that Father Jacques Hamel had been killed.

In a statement from Krakow, Poland, where Pope Francis was visiting, Lebrun says ‘I cry out to God, with all men of good will. And I invite all non-believers to unite with this cry … The Catholic Church has no other arms besides prayer and fraternity between men.’

An Italian politician later urged Pope Francis to put the slain French priest on a fast track for sainthood.

Roberto Maroni, the president of the Lombard region, said in an appeal circulated on social media that ‘Father Jacques is a martyr of faith’ and requested that the pope ‘immediately proclaim him St. Jacques.’

Shortly after the appeal, the hashtag (hash)santosubito, which translates as ‘saint immediately,’ began circulating on Twitter.

The canonisation process is a lengthy one involving two miracles attributed to the person’s intercession, but in the case of a martyr only one miracle is needed, after beatification. There must first be a declaration by the Vatican that the person indeed died for the faith.

BRUTAL PRIEST KILLING IS LATEST IN SPATE OF DEADLY ATTACKS ACROSS EUROPE IN THE LAST YEAR

Today’s attack is the latest to hit Europe in what has been a year of bloodshed on the continent:

July 24: Festival suicide bombing – A failed Syrian asylum seeker set off an explosive device near an open-air music festival in the southern city of Ansbach that killed himself and wounded a dozen others.

The 27-year-old had spent time in a psychiatric facility, while the regional authorities said an there was ‘likely’ a jihadist motive for the attack.

However a spokesman for the interior ministry later said there was as yet ‘no credible evidence’ of a link to Islamic extremism.

July 24: Knife attack – A Syrian refugee was arrested after killing a Polish woman with a large kebab knife at a snack bar in the southwestern city of Reutlingen, in an incident police said did not bear the hallmarks of a ‘terrorist attack’ and was more likely a crime of passion.

Three people were also injured in the assault, which ended when the 21-year-old assailant was deliberately struck by a BMW driver, believed to be the snack bar owner’s son, trying to stop the man.

People mourn in front of candles and flowers near the Olympia shopping mall in Munich, southern Germany, where an 18-year-old German-Iranian student ran amok on a shooting spree on July 22

People mourn in front of candles and flowers near the Olympia shopping mall in Munich, southern Germany, where an 18-year-old German-Iranian student ran amok on a shooting spree on July 22

July 22: Munich mall mass shooting – David Ali Sonboly, 18, shot dead nine people at a Munich shopping mall before turning the gun on himself, having spent a year planning the rampage.

Police said that the German-Iranian was ‘obsessed’ with mass killers like Norwegian right-wing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the Islamic State group.

July 18: Train axe attack – A 17-year-old migrant wielding an axe and a knife went on a rampage on a regional train, seriously injuring four members of a tourist family from Hong Kong and a German passer-by.

ISIS group subsequently released a video purportedly featuring the assailant, named by media as Riaz Khan Ahmadzai, announcing he would carry out an ‘operation’ in Germany, and presenting himself as a ‘soldier of the caliphate’.

He is believed to have been Afghan or Pakistani.

July 14: Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel ploughed a truck into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera city of Nice, killing 84 people and injuring over 300.

The Nice attack was the third major strike on France in 18 months and was claimed by ISIS.

June 14: A Frenchman of Moroccan origin stabs a police commander to death outside his home in a Paris suburb and kills his partner, who also worked for the police. The attacker told police negotiators during a siege that he was answering an appeal by Islamic State.

March 22: Suicide attacks claimed by ISIS kill 32 people and wound more than 300 at the Brussels airport and Maelbeek metro station, near European Union offices. They appear to have been carried out by members of the same cell that committed attacks in Paris four months earlier.

November 13, 2015: Coordinated suicide attacks in Paris kill 130 people and wound more than 350 at the Bataclan concert hall, cafes and the national stadium. ISIS claims responsibility for the attacks.

The area around the church remained cordoned off and the old town was out of bounds this afternoon. Saint-Etienne du Rouvray has a population of 30,000 and is around seven miles from Rouen.

A local Muslim leader said one of the men who attacked the church was on French police radar and had travelled to Turkey.

Mohammed Karabila, president of the Regional Council of the Muslim Faith for Haute-Normandie and head of the local Muslim cultural centre, said ‘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 the attacker ‘went to Turkey and security services were alerted after this.’ He had no information about the second attacker.

Mr Karabila said he was ‘appalled by the death of his friend’ and hoped that interfaith dialogue in his region would not be damaged.

The incident comes as France is on high alert after a Bastille Day attack that killed 84 people in Nice and a series of deadly attacks last year claimed by ISIS.

This morning it emerged Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray was one of a number of Catholic churches on a terrorist ‘hit list’ found on a suspected ISIS terrorist.

Sid Ahmed Ghlam, 24, was arrested in April 2015 after he called an ambulance in Paris after shooting himself in the leg.

There were reports the attackers shouted 'Daesh' – an alternative name for ISIS often used by the French government – as they ran into the church while at least one of the men was dressed in Islamic clothing

There were reports the attackers shouted ‘Daesh’ – an alternative name for ISIS often used by the French government – as they ran into the church while at least one of the men was dressed in Islamic clothing

A French soldier stands guard as he prevents the access to the scene of the attack in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy, France

A French soldier stands guard as he prevents the access to the scene of the attack in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy, France

Investigators believe he was a terrorist planning ‘imminent attacks’ in France on the instructions of ISIS leaders.

Investigators found an arsenal of weapons in Ghlam’s car, which was parked nearby, and at his student accommodation. It included Kalashnikovs, a police-issue pistol, and a number of bullet-proof vests.

Documents found at his flat and in a search of his computer and telephone, suggested Ghlam was in contact with a French speaker in Syria who had ordered him to carry out attacks on churches.

These included the Sacre-Couer basilica in Paris, and places of worship including the one in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray targeted today.

Ghlam is currently in a high-security prison while waiting trial for ‘murder, attempted murder, association with criminals with a view to commit crimes against people’ and for other infractions ‘connected to a terrorist organisation’.

The computer student, who born in Algeria, was also charged with the murder of a 32-year-old woman, who was found in the passenger seat of her burning car after his arrest.

Dance instructor Aurelie Chatelain, a mother of one, who had just attended a Pilates class, died after she was shot three times in the head, in what police believe may have been an attempt by Ghlam to hijack her car.

Priests Edgar Deguenon (left) and Brice de Malherbe (centre) arrive for a mass at the Notre-Dame cathedral on July 26, 2016 in Paris, in memory of the murdered priest in the Normandy city of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray

Mourners and worshippers attend a mass in memory of the slain priest, as it emerged that his killers were already known to be terror threats by French police

In Sainte-Anne-d'Auray, Brittany, bishops and local Catholics marched through the town as part of Grand Pardon celebrations

The Grand Pardon see Breton-speaking Catholics process through towns wearing traditional clothes, with today’s demonstration in Sainte-Anne-d'Auray, Brittany 

The Grand Pardon see Breton-speaking Catholics process through towns wearing traditional clothes, with today’s demonstration in Sainte-Anne-d’Auray, Brittany

As part of beefed up security operations in France, some 700 schools and Jewish synagogues and 1,000 mosques are under military protection.

However with some 45,000 Catholic churches, and thousands more Protestant and evangelical churches, protecting all places of worship is a massive headache for security services.

The Nice massacre triggered a bitter political spat over alleged security failings, with the government accused of not doing enough to protect the population.

French far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen wrote on Twitter that the ‘modus operandi obviously makes us fear a new attack from terrorist Islamists.’

Coincidentally, Catholic celebrations were taking place in the neighbouring French district of Brittany today.

The Grand Pardon see Breton-speaking Catholics process through towns wearing traditional clothes, with today’s demonstration in Sainte-Anne-d’Auray.

The attack is not believed to have been linked to the pilgrimages, which only take place in western France and never as far east as Rouen.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3708394/Two-men-armed-knives-people-hostage-French-church.html#ixzz4FXoDtp9l
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Below is the full text of Michelle Obama‘s speech to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 25, 2016.

MRS. OBAMA: Thank you all. (Applause.) Thank you so much. You know, it’s hard to believe that it has been eight years since I first came to this convention to talk with you about why I thought my husband should be President. (Applause.) Remember how I told you about his character and conviction, his decency and his grace -– the traits that we’ve seen every day that he’s served our country in the White House.

I also told you about our daughters –- how they are the heart of our hearts, the center of our world. And during our time in the White House, we’ve had the joy of watching them grow from bubbly little girls into poised young women -– a journey that started soon after we arrived in Washington, when they set off for their first day at their new school.

I will never forget that winter morning as I watched our girls, just seven and ten years old, pile into those black SUVs with all those big men with guns. (Laughter.) And I saw their little faces pressed up against the window, and the only thing I could think was, “What have we done?” (Laughter.) See, because at that moment, I realized that our time in the White House would form the foundation for who they would become, and how well we managed this experience could truly make or break them.

That is what Barack and I think about every day as we try to guide and protect our girls through the challenges of this unusual life in the spotlight — how we urge them to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith. (Applause.) How we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country. (Applause.) How we explain that when someone is cruel, or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level -– no, our motto is, when they go low, we go high. (Applause.)

With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. We as parents are their most important role models. And let me tell you, Barack and I take that same approach to our jobs as President and First Lady, because we know that our words and actions matter not just to our girls, but to children across this country –- kids who tell us, “I saw you on TV, I wrote a report on you for school.” Kids like the little black boy who looked up at my husband, his eyes wide with hope, and he wondered, “Is my hair like yours?” (Applause.)

And make no mistake about it, this November, when we go to the polls, that is what we’re deciding -– not Democrat or Republican, not left or right. No, this election, and every election, is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives. (Applause.) And I am here tonight because in this election, there is only one person who I trust with that responsibility, only one person who I believe is truly qualified to be President of the United States, and that is our friend, Hillary Clinton. (Applause.)

See, I trust Hillary to lead this country because I’ve seen her lifelong devotion to our nation’s children –- not just her own daughter, who she has raised to perfection –- (applause) — but every child who needs a champion: Kids who take the long way to school to avoid the gangs. Kids who wonder how they’ll ever afford college. Kids whose parents don’t speak a word of English but dream of a better life. Kids who look to us to determine who and what they can be.

You see, Hillary has spent decades doing the relentless, thankless work to actually make a difference in their lives — (applause) — advocating for kids with disabilities as a young lawyer. Fighting for children’s health care as First Lady and for quality child care in the Senate. And when she didn’t win the nomination eight years ago, she didn’t get angry or disillusioned. (Applause.) Hillary did not pack up and go home. Because as a true public servant, Hillary knows that this is so much bigger than her own desires and disappointments. (Applause.) So she proudly stepped up to serve our country once again as Secretary of State, traveling the globe to keep our kids safe.

And look, there were plenty of moments when Hillary could have decided that this work was too hard, that the price of public service was too high, that she was tired of being picked apart for how she looks or how she talks or even how she laughs. But here’s the thing — what I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure. (Applause.) She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life. (Applause.)

And when I think about the kind of President that I want for my girls and all our children, that’s what I want. I want someone with the proven strength to persevere. Someone who knows this job and takes it seriously. Someone who understands that the issues a President faces are not black and white and cannot be boiled down to 140 characters. (Applause.) Because when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can’t make snap decisions. You can’t have a thin skin or a tendency to lash out. You need to be steady, and measured, and well-informed. (Applause.)

I want a President with a record of public service, someone whose life’s work shows our children that we don’t chase fame and fortune for ourselves, we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed — (applause) — and we give back, even when we’re struggling ourselves, because we know that there is always someone worse off, and there but for the grace of God go I. (Applause.)

I want a President who will teach our children that everyone in this country matters –- a President who truly believes in the vision that our founders put forth all those years ago: That we are all created equal, each a beloved part of the great American story. (Applause.) And when crisis hits, we don’t turn against each other -– no, we listen to each other. We lean on each other. Because we are always stronger together. (Applause.)

And I am here tonight because I know that that is the kind of president that Hillary Clinton will be. And that’s why, in this election, I’m with her. (Applause.)

You see, Hillary understands that the President is about one thing and one thing only -– it’s about leaving something better for our kids. That’s how we’ve always moved this country forward –- by all of us coming together on behalf of our children — folks who volunteer to coach that team, to teach that Sunday school class because they know it takes a village. Heroes of every color and creed who wear the uniform and risk their lives to keep passing down those blessings of liberty.

Police officers and protestors in Dallas who all desperately want to keep our children safe. (Applause.) People who lined up in Orlando to donate blood because it could have been their son, their daughter in that club. (Applause.) Leaders like Tim Kaine — (applause) — who show our kids what decency and devotion look like. Leaders like Hillary Clinton, who has the guts and the grace to keep coming back and putting those cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling until she finally breaks through, lifting all of us along with her. (Applause.)

That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves — (applause) — and I watch my daughters –- two beautiful, intelligent, black young women –- playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. (Applause.) And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters –- and all our sons and daughters -– now take for granted that a woman can be President of the United States. (Applause.)

So don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again. Because this, right now, is the greatest country on earth. (Applause.) And as my daughters prepare to set out into the world, I want a leader who is worthy of that truth, a leader who is worthy of my girls’ promise and all our kids’ promise, a leader who will be guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.

So in this election, we cannot sit back and hope that everything works out for the best. We cannot afford to be tired, or frustrated, or cynical. No, hear me — between now and November, we need to do what we did eight years ago and four years ago: We need to knock on every door. We need to get out every vote. We need to pour every last ounce of our passion and our strength and our love for this country into electing Hillary Clinton as President of the United States of America.

Let’s get to work. Thank you all, and God bless.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/full-text-michelle-obamas-2016-democratic-national-convention/story?id=40884459

 

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