Pope Francis in ‘pain and horror’ over church assault in France

July 26, 2016 6:30 pm

The photo taken on June 30, 2016, shows at St Peter’s Square in the Vatican. (AFP)

Francis expressed his
“pain and horror” Tuesday after two knife-wielding men in northern
took a number of people hostage at a church and killed a priest. 

Vatican
spokesman Federico Lombardi said the leader of the Roman Catholic
Church had been particularly appalled by the “barbaric killing” that
happened in a sacred place.
“The pope… participates in the pain
and horror of this absurd violence,” media outlets quoted Lombardi as
saying, adding that the attack created “immense pain and worry.”
The
Tuesday attack hits particularly hard “because this horrific violence
took place in a church, a sacred place in which the love of God is
announced, and the barbaric murder of a priest and the involvement of
the faithful,” the Vatican spokesman stated.
Lombardi described
the attack “more terrible that adds to a series of violence in
these days that have left us upset, creating immense pain and worry.”
President Hollande reacts 
French President Francois Hollande condemned the “vile terrorist attack” in a statement.
Hollande said the two attackers had pledged allegiance to the Daesh Takfiri terrorists.
“Daesh
has declared war on us, we must fight this war by all means, while
respecting the rule of law, what makes us a democracy,” the French
president told reporters at the scene in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, south
of Rouen.

French
President Francois Hollande (C) stands outside the
Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray city hall after holding a press conference
following a hostage-taking at a church in the commune, July 26, 2016.
(AFP)Media reports earlier said between four
and six people were held by the assailants at the church in the town of
Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray before security forces intervened and put an
end to the hostage-taking.
The two attackers were later shot and killed by police.
The slain priest was among the hostages. The French Interior Ministry says a second hostage is in a critical condition.
The identities and motives of the hostage-takers remain unknown.
France
has been in a state of emergency over the past months. In November
2015, the French capital Paris witnessed attacks that left 137 people
dead. The city of Nice also saw a deadly assault on July 14, when 84
people were killed. Daesh claimed responsibility for both acts of
terror.
Last week, the French parliament extended the state of emergency for another six months.
The
Hollande administration is under fire for what is said to be security
failings. It stands accused of not doing enough to protect the
population.
Prime Minster Manuel Valls has warned that more
attacks by Takfiri terrorists may hit France due to the fact that
extremists operating in conflict zones in the Middle East would threaten
security upon returning home.

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