Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


France left soul-searching after brutal church attack

27 July 2016, 11:59

Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray - France was seeking Wednesday to understand how a jihadist awaiting trial on terror charges could attack a small-town church in broad daylight, killing a priest in the latest atrocity claimed by the Islamic State group.

Adel Kermiche was one of two attackers who stormed the church in the northern town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during morning mass, slitting the throat of an 86-year-old priest and leaving a worshipper with serious injuries.

The attack, claimed by IS jihadists, comes less than two weeks after Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel ploughed a truck into a crowd in the Riviera city of Nice, killing 84 people and injuring over 300.

The third major strike on France in 18 months prompted a bitter political spat over alleged security failings, and revelations over the church attack were likely to raise further questions.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Kermiche first came to the attention of anti-terror officials when a family member alerted he was missing in March 2015. German officials arrested him and found he was using his brother's identity in a bid to travel to Syria.

He was released under judicial supervision, but in May fled to Turkey where he was again arrested and returned to France. He was then held in custody until March this year.

Kermiche was released and fitted with an electronic bracelet, which allowed him to leave his house on weekdays between 8:00 am and 12:30 pm, Molins said.

Tuesday's attack prompted renewed opposition calls to further harden France's anti-terrorism legislation.

But Socialist President Francois Hollande - who faces a tough re-election bid next year - rejected them, saying: "Restricting our freedoms will not make the fight against terrorism more effective."

Also read: French PM booed at Nice tribute for attack victims

Changes made to legislation in 2015, and the extension of a state of emergency in the wake of the Nice attack, already gave authorities sufficient "capacity to act," he said.

But the deputy chief of France's police union, Frederic Lagache, said: "It should not be possible for someone awaiting trial on charges of having links to terrorism to be released" on house arrest.

- 'Where are the police?' -

Mohammed Karabila, who heads the regional council of Muslim worship for Haute Normandie, where the church attack took place, asked simply: "How could a person wearing an electronic bracelet carry out an attack? Where are the police?"

Kermiche and another assailant entered the centuries-old stone church of Saint Etienne, taking hostage the priest, Jacques Hamel, three nuns and two worshippers.

One of the nuns managed to escape and call police, who tried to negotiate with the hostage-takers.

The nun, Sister Danielle, told local radio RMC that the men were speaking Arabic and shouting, and had "recorded" the attack.

Three hostages were lined up in front of the church door, meaning police could not launch an attack, said Molins.

Two nuns and one worshipper exited the church followed by the two attackers, one carrying a handgun, who charged at police shouting "Allahu akbar" (God is greatest). Police gunned down the jihadists.

Joanna Torrent, a 22-year-old store employee, was stunned to see terror hit her small working-class town of 30,000 people, far from bustling tourist hubs like Paris and Nice.

"I thought it would only be in big cities, that it couldn't reach here," she said.

Saint Etienne's stone-and-brick town hall, a short distance from the church, became a communal grieving place as residents signed a condolence book and left candles and flowers.

A silent march on Thursday will set off from the town hall.

Outside Saint Etienne's Yahya Mosque - which sits on land donated by the adjacent Sainte Therese church - Karabila said his community had "never had problems with the authorities or the neighbours".

He added: "Here we don't preach hatred or we would be shut down."



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...