France: Church attackers were ISIS loyalists

France church killing
Police at the scene of the crime

The so-called Islamic State (IS) has released a video it says shows two men who murdered a priest in France, pledging allegiance to the group.

The two men are filmed speaking in Arabic and referring to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. One holds a piece of paper on which the IS flag is printed.

Fr Jacques Hamel, 86, had his throat cut in the attack on Tuesday at a church in a Normandy suburb.

Both attackers were shot dead by police after taking hostages.

The video was posted by Amaq news agency, the media arm of IS, which has posted the group’s videos and statements in the past.

It has not been verified by French police.

One of the two attackers has already been named by police as Adel Kermiche, 19, who had twice tried to reach Syria to join IS.


French investigators believe they are close to identifying the second attacker, according to French media reports.

Officers are said to have found an ID card at the home of Kermiche belonging to an individual named as Abdelmalik P, from Aix-les-Bains in eastern France.

It is not known whether this is the second attacker, whose face was badly disfigured by the police shooting.

France’s Le Monde newspaper also reports that French security officials received a tip-off on Friday from an unnamed foreign intelligence partner that an individual was planning attack in the coming days.

The newspaper says a photograph of the individual was provided but no identity, and French police were hunting for the man in the run up to the attack.

It may be that the so far unidentified man is the dead second attacker, the BBC’s Hugh Schofield in Paris says.

The killing in Normandy came 12 days after the truck attack in Nice in which 84 people died. The Nice killer also pledged allegiance to IS.

Earlier on Wednesday, French religious leaders called for more security at places of worship across the country.

Representatives of Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist faiths spoke after meeting President Francois Hollande.

Mr Hollande also attended a mass for Fr Jacques Hamel in Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral.

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