French President Francois Hollande said that his country was at war with ISIS after two men with knives killed a priest and injured a nun after storming into a Catholic church.
The priest, who was in his mid-80s, was taken hostage and stabbed to death along with the nun, who was said to be fighting for her life following the attack.
“We are put to the test yet again,” Hollande said following the “dreadful terrorist attack.”
“The threat remains very high," he said, according to Reuters.
The two men reportedly snuck into the church through a back entrance during a morning service and took the priest, two nuns, and two parishioners hostage.
“A third nun escaped and raised the alarm, and anti-terrorists officers were on the scene within minutes,” a source told the Daily Mail. “It appears that the priest who was celebrating the service was attacked first, and had his throat cut. The area around the church was sealed off, and then armed officers appeared with their weapons. I heard at least a dozen shots.”
The knife attack is the latest in a series of deadly strikes in Europe, including a recent attack on Bastille Day in Nice, France, as well as attacks in Belgium earlier this year and Paris in November of 2015.
The attackers reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS prior to storming the church.
“We are confronted with a group, Daesh, which has declared war on us. We have to wage war by every means, [but through] upholding the law, which is because we are a democracy,” Hollande said, Daily Mail reported. The particular church was reportedly on an ISIS “hit list” that was discovered several months before.
One of the attackers was allegedly a local resident who was being watched by the government after attempting to travel to Syria in 2015.
Pope Francis expressed “pain and horror” over the incident, saying that he was “appalled” by the killings, particularly because they occurred in a sacred place.
“Evil attacks the weakest, denies truth and love, is defeated through Jesus Christ. Pray for France, for victims, for their communities,” said Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who visited the scene of the attack with Hollande, faced intense criticism for not doing enough to prevent the Bastille Day attack in Nice.