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Second France church killer formally identified

The second attacker involved in the murder of a French priest in northwest of France was formally identified as Nabil Abdel Malik Petitjean

Published: Updated:

The second attacker involved in the murder of a French priest in northwest of France was formally identified as Nabil Abdel Malik Petitjean, 19, on Thursday.

According to a source close to the investigation, he was on a list of extremists being monitored by French intelligence services since June 29.

The attack took place during morning mass at the Saint-Etienne parish church, south of Rouen in Normandy. Five people were initially taken hostage.

The first attacker was named as 19-year-old Adel Kermiche, who was under close surveillance after two failed attempts to reach Syria last year, France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor said.

Kermiche and the second attacker, who remains unidentified, were killed by police as they came out of the church in Kermiche’s hometown in Normandy after taking hostages and fatally slitting the throat of an elderly priest.

Meanwhile the ISIS militant group released video footage Wednesday it said showed two men who killed the priest pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The video, posted on the ISIS news agency Amaq, shows two young men with an ISIS banner, as one of them recites in Arabic in a strong non-native accent a traditional pledge of allegiance to the group’s head.

The two bearded men, calling themselves noms de guerre Abu Omar and Abu Jalil al-Hanfai, hold hands as they swear “obedience” to Baghdadi.

ISIS claimed the attack saying it had been carried out by two of its “soldiers”.

According to Amaq, the two were “soldiers of the Islamic State who carried out the attack in response to calls to target countries of the Crusader coalition”.