3 killed in hostage situation at French church

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At least three people have been killed after two knife-wielding men took a number of people hostage at a church in northern France, police say.

According to police sources, be­tween four and six people were held by the assailants at the church in the Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray town of France’s northern Normandy region on Tuesday before security forces in­tervened and put an end to the hos­tage situation.

The two men were later shot and killed by police officers.

A priest among the hostages was killed by the assailants. A second hostage is also in critical condition, according to the Interior Ministry.

Reports say French President Francois Hollande and Interior Min­ister Bernard Cazeneuve are on their way to the scene.

The identity and motives of the hostage takers are still unknown.

The French anti-terrorist prosecution unit said it would launch an investigation into the deadly incident.

Police forces are seen at the scene of a hostage crisis in France’s northern region of Nor­mandy, July 26, 2016.

The incident comes as France is still reeling from the Bastille Day massacre that claimed 84 lives in the city of Nice earlier this month.

A state of emergency has been in place in the country since last November, when assailants struck at least six different venues in and around the capital, Paris, leaving 130 people dead and over 350 others injured.

Both of the attacks in Nice and Paris were claimed by the Daesh ter­ror group.

Last week, the French parlia­ment extended the state of emergen­cy for another six months.

The Paris government is under fire for what is said to be security failings. It stands accused of not do­ing enough to protect the population.

Prime Minster Manuel Valls had warned earlier in the week that more attacks by Takfiri terrorists may hit the country, which is trying to handle extrem­ists returning home from conflict zones in the Middle East

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