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While Hamel bled to death on the floor, Petitjean and Kermiche forced one of the hostages, Guy Coponet, to record the two assailants chanting what the victims described as an Arabic sermon before stabbing him in the hip and throat, leaving him seriously wounded.
July 28, 2016, survivor tells of Rouen priest’s jihadist murder,” BBC News, September 26, 2016, Euan Mc Kirdy, “Second French church attacker identified,” CNN, July 28, 2016,
After entering the church and taking two parishioners and two nuns as hostages, a third nun was able to escape as the two assailants reportedly forced the 86-year-old priest present, Jacques Hamel, to his knees, slitting his throat.
It is unclear how he met Kermiche but he had told his family he was leaving their home on Monday to see a cousin in the northeastern city of Nancy, before he appeared in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray to carry out the attack.
His mother told AFP that his last text message read: "Don't worry, everything is fine...
I love you."Days later, Petitjean would appear in an ISIS video released by Amaq after the attack but recorded before, posing with an ISIS sign and holding hands with Kermiche while both declared their support for Baghdadi's radical Islamist group.
That the French security services had prior knowledge of Petitjean's radicalized view of the world, and potential plans to carry out an attack in the country, shows the scale of the intelligence failure in preventing the murder of Hamel, says Dr.
Few details have yet to surface on Petitjean's radicalization, a judicial source told Reuters, but authorities have detained three people close to him who may provide more information about Petitjean's path to committing the attack against France's most popular religion, Catholicism. British media outlets reported Thursday that Petitjean had attempted to reach Syria but failed, resulting in his placement on the French watchlist.