Knife attacker at France church was on probation wearing tracking tag, officials say

SAINT-ETIENNE-DU-ROUVRAY, France, July 26 (UPI) — One of two men who stormed a church in France on Tuesday, taking hostages and killing a priest in what appears a terror-inspired plot, was a prior arrestee on probation and wearing a surveillance tag, authorities said.

French prosecutor Francois Molins identified the paroled suspect as Adel Kermiche, 19, who was arrested twice last year trying to reach Syria. The other suspect was not immediately identified.

Police said the men, armed with fake explosives and knives, shouted “Daesh” before killing the priest. Daesh is an alternate name for the Islamic State militant group. The Islamic State’s Amaq news agency has claimed the men were “soldiers” of the IS — also identified as ISIS and ISIL.

The attack happened at the 17th century Église St.-Étienne church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray Tuesday morning. During the ordeal, four hostages — including two nuns — were taken.

One hostage injured in the attack was listed as “between life and death,” Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henri Brandet said.

“I am horrified by the barbaric attack on the church in Seine-Maritime,” said Prime Minister Manuel Valls in a tweet. “All of France and her Catholic citizens have been wounded. We stand in solidarity.”

Tuesday’s attack attack comes just weeks after a massacre in southern France on Bastille Day when a man drove a box truck through a crowd of people, killing 84 people.

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