Terror attack

Nun who escaped French church attacked by ISIS militants describes “horrific” violence

A woman prays in front of the house of Father Jacques Hamel on July 27, 2016 in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, where the priest was killed the day before in the latest of a string of attacks against Western targets claimed by or blamed on the Islamic State jihadist group. (CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images)

A Catholic nun who was in a French church that was stormed by Islamic militants during morning Mass on Tuesday says she thought her life was over when she saw them enter.

“It was fear, especially when they entered. When I saw them I said to myself, ‘well that’s it, it’s over.’ They were so motivated. They told me, ‘You Christians, you kill us,’” Sister Danielle told the BBC.

The attackers killed the 86-year-old priest who had just concluded celebrating Mass, Father Jacques Hamel, along with three nuns and two parishioners in the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray. Sister Danielle described how Hamel was forced to his knees before having his throat slit by the attackers.

“Jacques had just celebrated his Mass. They took his place and started preaching in Arabic. He was near the altar. They forced him to kneel and told him not to move,” she said.

She said they recorded their sermon in Arabic like they were “performing” and that it was “horrific.” Sister Danielle escaped during the attack to call for help, and while police tried to negotiate with the attackers, they used parishioners as a human shield in the front of the church. The parishioners and one of the attackers exited the church and the attacker rushed toward police with a gun yelling “Allah akbar” before being shot dead by cops.

Hamel celebrated his golden jubilee, or 50 years in the priesthood, in 2008.

“Jacques loved all people, regardless of religion, that is all I can say,” Sister Danielle said. “A faithful priest, a priest who loved everybody, who loved much.”

Read the full story at the BBC.

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