A new video released on the Islamic State group's official Amaq news agency purportedly shows the slain French priest’s attackers pledging allegiance to ISIS, according to reports Wednesday. One of the attackers, who took five hostages in a church in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy, slit the throat of the Rev. Jacques Hamel on Tuesday before being shot to death by police.
The attacker, who killed Hamel, has been identified by French prosecutors as Adel Kermiche. However, in the ISIS video, the 19-year-old identified himself by the alias Abul Jaleel al-Hanafi and said his compatriot is Ibn Omar. The two pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and one of the men is seen holding a paper that has the ISIS flag printed on it.
French President François Hollande condemned the deadly attack. "All people feel affected so we must have cohesion. ... No one can divide us," he said. "Terrorists will not give up on anything until we stop them."
On Tuesday, French prosecutors said that the two men barged into the Normandy church with guns, fake bombs and knives before killing the 86-year-old Catholic priest. Another victim remained in critical condition Tuesday.
“I will not talk about the motives of these individuals,” French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said. “I cannot tell you more about the persons who have been seriously injured and who have been assassinated, for the simple reason that investigations are ongoing and the explosive sniffer dogs are carrying out their work.”
ISIS had called the two men “soldiers” while claiming the responsibility for the attack. The five hostages in the church included Hamel, two nuns and two worshippers. French media had reported that one of the hostages managed to escape and alerted the authorities.