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Church attackers 'forced priest to kneel before killing him'

Two French church attackers forced Father Jacques Hamel, an 86-year-old priest, to kneel before killing him, according to a nun who managed to escape.

Speaking to French radio, Sister Danielle said: "They forced him to kneel and he tried to defend himself and that is how the drama started".

She added that the pair had also filmed the murder, at which point she managed to flee.

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Knifeman 'was jailed for attempting to enter Syria'

Credit: Reuters

One of the attackers who killed a priest and seriously injured a woman after holding them hostage in a church had been jailed for a year after attempting to enter Syria, according to reports.

French media have said the man had been arrested on his return from Turkey, after his journey to the war-torn country was intercepted by authorities.

He was released on bail - with an electric tag - pending trial for alleged terrorism offences.

A local Muslim leader in the Normandy area, Mohammed Karabila, said police knew of the attacker's whereabouts.

He 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 added the man "went to Turkey and security services were alerted after this" but had no information about the second attacker.

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