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Priest has throat slit in French hostage drama - two knifemen shot dead

Reports priest killed in incident

Published 26/07/2016

French police vehicles and firemen arrive at the scene of a hostage-taking at a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, northern France, on July 26, 2016 that left the priest dead.
/ AFP PHOTO / CHARLY TRIBALLEAUCHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images
French police vehicles and firemen arrive at the scene of a hostage-taking at a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, northern France, on July 26, 2016 that left the priest dead. / AFP PHOTO / CHARLY TRIBALLEAUCHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images
French police officers and firemen arrive at the scene of a hostage-taking at a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, northern France, on July 26, 2016 that left the priest dead. A police source meanwhile confirmed that police killed two hostage-takers. / AFP PHOTO / CHARLY TRIBALLEAUCHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images
French police officers and firemen arrive at the scene of a hostage-taking at a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, northern France, on July 26, 2016 that left the priest dead. A police source meanwhile confirmed that police killed two hostage-takers. / AFP PHOTO / CHARLY TRIBALLEAUCHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Two men seized number hostages in a church near the Normandy city of Rouen, killing a priest by slitting his throat before being shot by police, a security official said.

The identities of the attackers and motive for the attack are unclear, according to the official.

A priest, two nuns and several worshippers were involved in the incident in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.

President Francois Hollande and interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve were was said to be travelling to the scene.

Local reports quoted police sources as saying that "at least" one of the hostages had been killed.

It has been reported that it was a priest who was celebrating mass.

The hostage-takers entered the church armed with knives shortly before 10am local time (9am UK time), said French media sources.

A number of shots were heard over a period of around 15 seconds as the incident came to an end.

According to unconfirmed reports, the hostage takers were shot dead by police.

The operation ended at around 11am local time (10am UK time).

French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve was reported to be on his way to the scene.

The French Police Nationale gave no details about the situation but sent a Tweet urging media not to cross security tape at the scene or take pictures or video.

The incident follows in the wake of the Nice Bastille Day lorry attack. Eighty-four people were killed and over 300 injured after a lorry was driven through a crowd of revellers on the French Riviera city.

More to follow....

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