France’s Hollande to meet Pope Francis after priest killing

The meeting was organized “following the events in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray” where 85-year-old priest Jacques Hamel was killed by ISIS militants. (File Photo: AP)

French President Francois Hollande will meet Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday to discuss the aftermath of the ISIS murder of a French priest, Hollande’s office said.

An official told AFP the meeting was organized “following the events in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray”, the northern town where 85-year-old priest Jacques Hamel was killed by two teens claiming allegiance to ISIS.

They are also expected to discuss the situation facing Christians in the Middle East.

Hollande may also visit San Luigi dei Francesi (Saint-Louis-des-Francais), a French church in central Rome, to pay tribute to the victims of terrorism.

Adel Kermiche and Abdel Malik Petitjean stormed Hamel's church on July 26 and slit his throat in front of a small group of worshippers while he was conducting mass.

The attack was the first committed in the name of ISIS against a church in the West. Both Kermiche and Petitjean were shot dead by police.

It will be Hollande’s second visit to the Vatican, after a trip he made in January 2014.

Relations between the Socialist Party leader and the Holy See have seen periods of tension, triggered by Hollande’s failed attempt to appoint an openly gay diplomat as ambassador to the Vatican and a 2013 law in France that approved same-sex marriage.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47