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Hollande visits scene of French church hostage siege

Two knifemen were killed by police. Credit: EBU

French President Francois Hollade has arrived at the scene of today's hostage siege in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in which a priest was killed.

President Hollande met masked members of the police and other emergency service workers.

President Hollande meets masked members of the police. Credit: EBU


Pope Francis feeling 'pain and horror of absurd violence'

The Vatican condemned the 'barbarous killing'. Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis is feeling "the pain and horror of this absurd violence" following the killing of a priest at a church in France.

The Vatican condemned the "barbarous killing", saying the Pope was horrified by the news.

"We are particularly shocked because this horrible violence took place in a church, in which God's love is announced," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said.

He said the Pope "condemned in the most radical way any form of hate".

Priest killed in siege at French church named

Credit: Reuters

The priest killed in the siege on French church has been named.

The Catholic Church in France confirmed the death of 84-year-old Father Jacques Hamel.

Born in the Rouen area, Father Hamel was ordained in 1958 and was assistant priest in the parish of St Etienne.

Archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, who cut short a visit to Poland to return to his diocese, said: "I'm calling out to God, alongside all good-willed men. I'm inviting all non-believers to unite behind this call.

"The only arms which the Catholic Church can take up are prayer and brotherhood between men.

"I'm addressing the hundreds of young people who are the true future of humanity.

"I'm asking them to not lower their hands when faced with violence and to become apostles of the civilisation of love."

Archbishop of Canterbury tweets 'pray for France'

The Archbishop of Canterbury has tweeted 'pray for France' after the news a priest was killed during a church siege in Normandy.


Woman fighting for life after Normandy hostage attack

A policeman at the scene. Credit: Reuters

A woman taken hostage in a French church is fighting for her life, officials said.

Pierre-Henry Brandet, spokesman for the interior ministry, said the woman, believed to be a member of the congregation, was "between life and death".

She was one of five hostages - including a priest and two nuns - held in Normandy.

Elderly priest was 'treasured by community'

Credit: APTN

The elderly priest killed after being taken hostage with four others in a church in Normandy was "treasured by the community".

He was killed with a knife with some reports stating he had his throat slit in the attack.

The two hostage takers - who also held two nuns and two members of the congregation - were shot dead by police.

Eulalie Garcia, who works on the same road as the church, said she knew the priest.

"My family has lived here for 35 years and we have always known him. He was someone who was treasured by the community."

Terror unit take over investigation into church siege

Credit: APTN

French terror police are taking over the investigation into a church siege in which a priest was killed.

Five hostages - including a priest, two nuns and two worshippers - were held in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, south of Rouen, in Normandy.

The hostage takers - two men armed with knives - were shot dead by police.

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