Log in

France lays to rest priest slain by jihadists

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

Rouen, France - Thousands gathered at Rouen cathedral in northern France on Tuesday for the funeral of Father Jacques Hamel, the 85-year-old priest who was murdered by two jihadists last week.

Some 2,000 mourners were expected to pack the soaring Gothic sanctuary, with hundreds more watching the ceremony on a giant screen outside.

A section of pews was set aside for residents of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, the nearby industrial town where the two jihadists, both 19, slit Hamel's throat while he was celebrating mass in an attack that shocked the country as well as the Catholic Church.

Along with churches across France, the 11th-century cathedral had on Sunday opened its doors to Muslims wishing to show their solidarity after the grisly attack, with the visitors paying a moving tribute to Hamel and denouncing radical Islam.

As on Sunday, security was tight, with police closely checking mourners' bags and backpacks.

The church attack came less than two weeks after another attacker ploughed a 19-tonne truck into a massive crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the Riviera city of Nice, killing 84 people and wounding more than 300 others.

As mourners gathered at the cathedral, Hamel's coffin stood before the altar, draped with a white cloth as is customary at the burial of a priest.

A stole, a priest's vestment resembling a narrow shawl that symbolises the passion of Christ, was draped over a giant cross.

"Father Hamel's death was similar to that of Christ, unjustly convicted and put to death," the diocese said.

Rouen Archbishop Dominique Lebrun will celebrate the mass, with Marseille Archbishop Georges Pontier, who heads the French Catholic Church, also attending.

Priest killed in France church hostage taking

1 of
  • An elderly priest had his throat slit in a church in northern France on Tuesday after two men stormed the building and took hostages.
  • The attack in the Normandy town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray came as France was still coming to terms with the massacre in the French Riviera city of Nice claimed by the Islamic State group.
  • Two men arrived at the 17th century Eglise Saint-Etienne church during morning mass, storming the building and taking five hostages inside.
  • During the siege they killed a retired priest in his 80s by slitting his throat and seriously injured another captive.
  • The victim was father Jacques Hamel, a semi-retired assistant parish priest, according to the archbishop of nearby Rouen Dominique Lebrun.
  • Hamel was born in 1930 in Darnetal, a town near Saint-Etienne du Rouvray and was ordained in 1958, according to information on the diocesan website.
  • As the two attackers made to leave the church they were confronted by a French police unit specialising in hostage situations, the BRI, and shot dead.
  • Three of the hostages were freed unharmed.
  • The scene was then secured by officers from France's elite RAID unit who scoured the area for explosive devices. None were found.
  • The Islamic State group said on Tuesday that the two assailants were its "soldiers," an IS-linked news agency reported.
  • Little else is known about the attackers.
Reuters, AFP

Lighticon
Lightbox
  • An elderly priest had his throat slit in a church in northern France on Tuesday after two men stormed the building and took hostages.

  • The attack in the Normandy town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray came as France was still coming to terms with the massacre in the French Riviera city of Nice claimed by the Islamic State group.

  • Two men arrived at the 17th century Eglise Saint-Etienne church during morning mass, storming the building and taking five hostages inside.

  • During the siege they killed a retired priest in his 80s by slitting his throat and seriously injured another captive.

  • The victim was father Jacques Hamel, a semi-retired assistant parish priest, according to the archbishop of nearby Rouen Dominique Lebrun.

  • Hamel was born in 1930 in Darnetal, a town near Saint-Etienne du Rouvray and was ordained in 1958, according to information on the diocesan website.

  • As the two attackers made to leave the church they were confronted by a French police unit specialising in hostage situations, the BRI, and shot dead.

  • Three of the hostages were freed unharmed.

  • The scene was then secured by officers from France's elite RAID unit who scoured the area for explosive devices. None were found.

  • The Islamic State group said on Tuesday that the two assailants were its "soldiers," an IS-linked news agency reported.

  • Little else is known about the attackers.

Reuters, AFP

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, whose portfolio also includes inter-faith relations, is leading the political delegation to the mass.

Hamel is to be buried in a ceremony attended only by close family members, at a location that has not been revealed.

The frail octogenarian became the latest victim of terror in France when the two jihadists stormed his church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray last Tuesday and slit his throat at the altar.

Abdel Malik Petitjean and Adel Kermiche had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and both were shot dead by police after a tense hostage drama in which a worshipper was left seriously wounded. Three other hostages escaped unharmed.

The man who was stabbed in the neck and chest, an octogenarian like Hamel, was thought to be well enough to attend Tuesday's funeral mass.

The attack stunned France's religious communities, sparking fears of tensions in a country with a population of some five million Muslims.

Pope Francis spoke out Monday, saying Islam could not be equated with terrorism.

"It's not true and it's not correct (to say) Islam is terrorism," he said, defending his decision not to name Islam when condemning the brutal murder.

"If I have to talk about Islamic violence, I have to talk about Christian violence. Every day in the newspapers, I see violence in Italy, someone kills his girlfriend, another kills his mother-in-law, and these are baptised Catholics." The series of jihadist attacks in France have raised tough questions about security failures, but also about the foreign funding of many mosques.

Cazeneuve said Monday that authorities have shut down around 20 mosques and prayer halls considered to be preaching radical Islam since December.

"There is no place ... in France for those who call for and incite hatred in prayer halls or in mosques," the minister said.

Petitjean's 30-year-old cousin was charged Sunday with "criminal association in connection with terrorism".

Media reports say Petitjean and Kermiche met through the encrypted messaging app Telegram.

In a separate case Sunday, 20-year-old Jean-Philippe J. was charged with trying to travel to Syria with Petitjean last month.

Thousands gather in Nice to observe a minute of silence for victims of truck attack

1 of
  • France fell silent on July 18, 2016, for the victims of the Nice truck attack, but the mourning was overshadowed by politicians tearing into each other over the massacre.
  • A sea of people thronged the Nice promenade for the emotional minute's silence just days after a Tunisian attacker drove a truck into a crowd at the same place on Bastille Day, killing 84 people and injuring around 300.
  • People walk past French flags flying at half-staff on the Promenade des Anglais as French police patrol before a minute of silence.
  • French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was booed in Nice on Monday before and after the minute of silence for the victims of the deadly Bastille Day attack.
  • Shouts of “Murderers!” and “Resign!” rang out as Valls and two ministers left the seafront.
  • This image obtained by AFP on July 15, 2016 from a French police source shows a reproduction of the residence permit of Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, the man who rammed his truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice on July 14.
  • Warning: Images may be graphic. French police and rescue forces vehicles are seen on the Promenade des Anglais July 15, 2016 after at least 60 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14.
  • Police officers carry out checks on vehicles in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice, after a van drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display on July 14, 2016.
  • An injured individual is seen on the ground after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016.
  • Police officers, firefighters and rescue workers are seen at the site of an attack on July 15, 2016, after a truck drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice.
  • A police officer stands next to a dead body covered with a blue sheet on the Promenade des Anglais seafront in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 15, 2016, after a van drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display.
  • Rescue workers help an injured woman to get in a ambulance on July 15, 2016, after a truck drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice.
  • French soldiers cordon the area after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016.
  • A soldier stands next to a dead body covered with a blue sheet on the Promenade des Anglais seafront in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 15, 2016, after a van drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display.
  • Rescue workers help injured people to get in a ambulance on July 15, 2016, after a truck drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice.
  • Bodies are seen on the ground July 15, 2016 after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14.
  • An injured individual is seen on the ground after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016.
  • A man sits next to a body seen on the ground July 15, 2016 after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14.
  • A man walks with his hands up as police officers carry out checks on people in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice, after a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display on July 14, 2016.
  • French soldiers secure the street after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016.
  • People cross the street with their hands on thier heads as a French soldier secures the area July 15, 2016 after at least 60 people were killed along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14.
  • French police forces and forensic officers stand next to a truck July 15, 2016 that ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais killing at least 60 people in Nice, France, July 14.
  • Soldiers, police officers and firefighters walk near dead bodies covered with a blue sheets on the Promenade des Anglais seafront in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 15, 2016, after a van drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display.
  • French police forces and forensic officers stand next to a truck July 15, 2016 that ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais killing at least 60 people in Nice, France, July 14.
  • A picture taken on July 14, 2016 shows a flash of lightning as fireworks explode over the French riviera city of Nice, southeastern France, as part of France's annual Bastille Day Celebrations.
  • Still image from video shows French President Francois Hollande giving a statement following the attack in Nice, during a national television address in Paris July 15, 2016.
  • French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve (2nd L) speaks to the media in Nice early on July 15, 2016 as he visits the area where a truck ploughed into a crowd of people during Bastille Day celebrations.
  • Leaders stand for a minute of silence for the victims of a deadly attack in the French city of Nice, before the opening session of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 15, 2016.
AFP, Reuters

Lighticon
Lightbox
  • France fell silent on July 18, 2016, for the victims of the Nice truck attack, but the mourning was overshadowed by politicians tearing into each other over the massacre.

  • A sea of people thronged the Nice promenade for the emotional minute's silence just days after a Tunisian attacker drove a truck into a crowd at the same place on Bastille Day, killing 84 people and injuring around 300.

  • People walk past French flags flying at half-staff on the Promenade des Anglais as French police patrol before a minute of silence.

  • French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was booed in Nice on Monday before and after the minute of silence for the victims of the deadly Bastille Day attack.

  • Shouts of “Murderers!” and “Resign!” rang out as Valls and two ministers left the seafront.

  • This image obtained by AFP on July 15, 2016 from a French police source shows a reproduction of the residence permit of Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, the man who rammed his truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice on July 14.

  • Warning: Images may be graphic. French police and rescue forces vehicles are seen on the Promenade des Anglais July 15, 2016 after at least 60 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14.

  • Police officers carry out checks on vehicles in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice, after a van drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display on July 14, 2016.

  • An injured individual is seen on the ground after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016.

  • Police officers, firefighters and rescue workers are seen at the site of an attack on July 15, 2016, after a truck drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice.

  • A police officer stands next to a dead body covered with a blue sheet on the Promenade des Anglais seafront in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 15, 2016, after a van drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display.

  • Rescue workers help an injured woman to get in a ambulance on July 15, 2016, after a truck drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice.

  • French soldiers cordon the area after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016.

  • A soldier stands next to a dead body covered with a blue sheet on the Promenade des Anglais seafront in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 15, 2016, after a van drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display.

  • Rescue workers help injured people to get in a ambulance on July 15, 2016, after a truck drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice.

  • Bodies are seen on the ground July 15, 2016 after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14.

  • An injured individual is seen on the ground after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016.

  • A man sits next to a body seen on the ground July 15, 2016 after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14.

  • A man walks with his hands up as police officers carry out checks on people in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice, after a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display on July 14, 2016.

  • French soldiers secure the street after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016.

  • People cross the street with their hands on thier heads as a French soldier secures the area July 15, 2016 after at least 60 people were killed along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14.

  • French police forces and forensic officers stand next to a truck July 15, 2016 that ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais killing at least 60 people in Nice, France, July 14.

  • Soldiers, police officers and firefighters walk near dead bodies covered with a blue sheets on the Promenade des Anglais seafront in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 15, 2016, after a van drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display.

  • French police forces and forensic officers stand next to a truck July 15, 2016 that ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais killing at least 60 people in Nice, France, July 14.

  • A picture taken on July 14, 2016 shows a flash of lightning as fireworks explode over the French riviera city of Nice, southeastern France, as part of France's annual Bastille Day Celebrations.

  • Still image from video shows French President Francois Hollande giving a statement following the attack in Nice, during a national television address in Paris July 15, 2016.

  • French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve (2nd L) speaks to the media in Nice early on July 15, 2016 as he visits the area where a truck ploughed into a crowd of people during Bastille Day celebrations.

  • Leaders stand for a minute of silence for the victims of a deadly attack in the French city of Nice, before the opening session of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 15, 2016.

AFP, Reuters