Cowardly killers force priest to kneel as they film brutal execution
Isil began a new front in its war with the West yesterday by murdering a French priest in the first such attack on a Christian church in Europe.
Two terrorists - one of whom had an electronic tag due to terror links - cut the throat of Fr Jacques Hamel (85) after taking worshippers hostage during Mass at a church in Normandy. They were later shot dead by police.
Experts said the atrocity, in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen, was a departure for the jihadists following attacks on places of worship in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Fr Hamel - forced to kneel by his two killers, who filmed the execution - was last night hailed as a "martyr of faith".
French president Francois Hollande promised to win the war against terrorism.
"To attack a church, kill a priest, is to profane the republic," he said.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny also expressed his condolences.
"For centuries the church has been a place of sanctuary and it's particularly brutal that terror and murder have been visited upon innocent people at a time when they have been so physically vulnerable and so spiritually hopeful," he said.