Hostage situation in France's Normandy: One hostage killed, 2 assailants neutralised at church

Two men armed with knives had taken several people hostage in a church in a town in France's northern Normandy region on Tuesday, a police source said. At least one person was killed on Tuesday during a hostage situation at a church near the northern French city of Rouen, a police source said.

French Prime Minister Valls expressed shock and horror over the attack.

The French interior ministry said that two hostage takers were "neutralised" in the attack. One of the hostages, a priest, was killed in the attack. Second hostage is fighting for life, according to recent reports.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was on his way to the scene of the crime, which comes with France on edge after the Bastille Day massacre which left 84 people dead in Nice.

A source told Reuters that between four and six people were being held by the assailants in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray. The France 3 network reported that a priest and two sisters, as well as churchgoers, were among those held. More details are awaited.

According to The Local, the two men took hostages at a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen in the département of Seine-Maritime. Reports say the men entered the church during mass via a rear door. It is unclear what their motives are.

Special police force are on the scene, according to the media and a "security cordon was set up around the church."

French President Francois Hollande was on his way to the site of the attack.

It was not immediately clear if the assailants were killed or taken alive in the police operation that ended the assault.

Live TV images showed police had blocked off the roads around the church and paramedics were seen pulling stretchers out of ambulances.

The hostages included a priest, two nuns and two worshippers according to BFM TV.

In brief, this is what we know about the attack so far:

The attack is the latest in a string of deadly assaults in Europe. In France, the Normandy attack comes 12 days after a 31-year-old Tunisian killed 84 people in the French Riviera city of Nice when he ploughed his heavy goods truck into a crowd of revellers. Islamic State claimed the attack in Nice.

With inputs from Reuters and AFP

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Updated Date: Jul 26, 2016 15:55:22 IST

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