French religious leaders call for reinforced security after church attack

'We deeply desire that our places of worship are the subject of greater (security) focus, a sustained focus'

Afp July 27, 2016
Believers pray on July 26, 2016 in Tours' cathedral, central France during a mass in tribute to the priest killed in Saint-Etienne du Rouvray in the latest of a string of attacks against Western targets claimed by or blamed on the Islamic State jihadist group. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS: French religious leaders on Wednesday called for authorities to boost security at places of worship after extremists killed a priest in a Normandy church.

Priest killed in Islamic State church hostage taking in France

"We deeply desire that our places of worship are the subject of greater (security) focus, a sustained focus," said French Muslim leader Dalil Boubakeur, after meeting with President Francois Hollande.

Hollande gathered with the leaders of the country's main religions a day after two attackers stormed a church in the northern town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during morning mass, slitting the throat of an 86-year-old priest.

Boubakeur, speaking in the name of French Muslims, voiced his "deep grief" at the attack which he descrbed as a "blasphemous sacrilege which goes against all the teachings of our religion."

Hollande vows war on IS 'by every means' after church attack

The attack, claimed by IS militants, 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.


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