Yet another terror attack has happened in France, this time ISIS has attacked a church.

  • The attack on Tuesday occurred at a Catholic church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France.
  • The priest, Father Jacques Hamel, was murdered during mass.
  • Four people were taken hostage, one of whom was severely injured from knife wounds.
  • The two attackers slit the priest’s throat before being taken down by police.
  • ISIS has claimed the attack through its news agency
  • This attack comes only 12 days after the attack in Nice


The priest giving mass that day was Father Jaques Hamel, who was 85 years old. In attendance that day were three nuns and two parishioners. One of the parishioners, 86 years old, was injured badly. The attackers forced the priest to get on his knees and they then slit his throat. One nun described the situation, and said the attackers said a sermon in Arabic and filmed it. The other hostages were used as human shields to keep the police from entering.


What do we know about the attackers?

Only one of the attackers has been named so far, Adel Kermiche.

He was only 19 years old, and had tried to get to Syria twice to join ISIS in battle there.

  • He was arrested in Germany in March of 2015 for using his brother’s ID to attempt an escape to Syria.
  • He was under supervision after being returned to France, and tried again to get to Syria in May and made it all the way to Turkey.
  • He was in custody until March of this year, when he was released but had to wear a surveillance tag and was under house arrest except on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m..
  • The tag was turned off the morning of the attack, which allowed the attack to occur.


This attack comes only 12 days after the one in Nice, where more than 80 people died after a truck was driven into Bastille Day crowds. And there were also four incidents in one week in Germany, two of which were ISIS-related. The town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray is located in a suburb of Rouen in France:

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What does this attack mean for France and its security?

While this is thought to be the first attack on a church by ISIS in the west, Christians have consistently been targeted for killings and forced conversions by ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Religious leaders in France are calling for more security at places of worship, including even small churches in ordinary towns like the one attacked yesterday.

  • The rector of Paris’ Grand Mosque, Dalil Boubakeur, expressed his “profound sorrow” on behalf of French Muslims and stated that religious leaders “deeply desire that our places of worship are the subject of greater [security] focus.”
  • Andre Vingt-Trois, The Archbishop of Paris, spoke about how ISIS’ attacks would not be able to shake the brotherhood between religions in France. He said that ISIS wishes “to set children of the same family against each other” but that “We must not let ourselves get pulled in to Daesh’s political games.”
  • President Francois Hollande is also calling for people to come together in unity since the war on terror will not be ending soon.

Hollande’s message is: “Our democracy is the target, and it will be our shield. Let us stand together. We will win this war.”



Photo credit: Flickr