The Islamic State on Tuesday claimed responsibility for an attack on a church in the northern French city of Rouen that left an 85-year-old priest and two assailants dead.
In a statement published by the IS-affiliated Aamaq news agency, the group said the attack was carried out by "two Islamic State soldiers," BBC News reported.
An unidentified source in the Paris prosecutor's office told The Associated Press that one person had been detained in connection to the investigation. No details were given on the person's identity or the location of his or her arrest.
The attack, which happened during morning mass Tuesday, took place as France continues to reel from terror attacks in Nice and Paris. Two attackers held nuns and a number of other people hostage.
French authorities identified one of the assailants as Adel Kermiche. According the The Wall Street Journal, Kermiche, 19, grew up in France and was detained in Turkey last year while trying to travel to Northern Syria. He was convicted in March 2016 on terrorism charges and ordered to wear an electronic bracelet.
Officials said the attackers slit the throat of a priest before they were eventually shot and killed by police, The AP reported.
The slain priest was identified as the Rev. Jacque Hamel. According to The Guardian, Hamel regularly led services at the church where he was killed and occasionally led a church in nearby Elbeuf, where Father Auguste Moanda-Phuati serves as the regular priest.
"I could not possibly imagine anything like this happening," Moanda-Phuati told French Newspaper Liberation. "We have never received any threats."
A special response team searched the church and the area surrounding it for potential explosives as terrorism investigators traveled to the town, which is in the Normandy region of the country.
Islamic State extremists have urged followers to attack churches in France, The AP reported. There had been plans of at least one church attack in 2015. Sid Ahmed Ghlam had been arrested in April 2015, charged with killing a woman. He was found with heavy weapons , bulletproof vests and documents linked to ISIS. He had been sent to attack a church just outside of Paris by Abdelhamid Abaaoud. Abaaoud is also the mastermind behind the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, as well as the March 22 Brussels airport attack.
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