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Archbishop of Rouen: Murdered French priest called his attackers 'Satan'

ITV News correspondent Juliet Bremner reports.

A French priest who was murdered by two extremists last week tried to push away his attackers with his feet and shouted "go away, Satan", the archbishop of Rouen said at his funeral mass.

Father Jacques Hamel, 85, was killed at his church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during morning Mass on July 26 by Adel Kermiche and Abdel-Malik Nabil Petit Jean.

His murder sent shockwaves across France, coming less than two weeks after 84 people were killed in a truck attack on a crowd of revellers celebrating Bastille Day in Nice.

On Tuesday, hundreds of mourners attended Father Hamel's funeral and heard archbishop Dominique Lebrun say: "Evil is a mystery. It reaches heights of horror that take us out of the human.

"Isn't that what you wanted to say, Jacques, with your last words, when you fell to the ground? After you were struck by the knife, you tried to push away your assailants with your feet and said, 'Go away, Satan.' You repeated it, 'Go away, Satan.'"

Lebrun added: "You expressed ... your faith in the goodness of humans and that the devil put his claws in."

Credit: Reuters

As well as the Archbishop of Rouen, the solemn ceremony at Rouen Cathedral was celebrated by the Archbishop of Marseille, President of the Conference of Bishops of France and the former Archbishop of Rouen who is retired.

Also in attendance were French President Francois Hollande, Prime Minister Manuel Valls and former Presidents Valery Giscard d'Estaing, Nicolas Sarkozy and Bruno Le Maire.

Credit: Reuters
Credit: Reuters
Credit: Reuters