The murder of a priest in Normandy, France, Tuesday morning is the latest terror-related tragedy for a country still reeling from the horrific Bastille Day massacre in Nice earlier this month.
Two men reportedly took five people hostage at knifepoint during morning mass Tuesday at the Saint-Etienne-du Rouvray Catholic church in Normandy. Among the five hostages was a priest, the 86-year old Rev. Jacques Hamel, two nuns and two parishioners. The hostage situation ended when French police shot the two attackers, but not before one of the knifemen slit Hamel's throat, killing him. One of the nuns involved was also injured and is in critical condition. Before cutting Hamel's throat, his killer yelled "Daesh" and "Allah Akbar," according to police.
The use of the term "Daesh" can be taken as a pledge of allegiance to the terror group ISIS, also known as the Islamic State. Daesh, another word for the group, is an Arabic acronym for “al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham.” It can sometimes be spelled DAIISH, Da'esh or Daech. French President François Hollande, hacktivist group Anonymous and President Barack Obama have used the term since the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015.
The term is another name for the militant group, but one it strongly dislikes, as it doubles as an insult to the terror group. In Arabic, the acronym can be conjugated to mean a bigot who opposes the views of others. ISIS has previously threatened “to cut the tongue of anyone who publicly used the acronym Daesh, instead of referring to the group by its full name,” the Associated Press reported in September 2014.
"Daesh has declared war on us. We have to win that war," President Hollande said Tuesday in response to the attack. "Terrorists will not give up on anything until we stop them."