Two armed men stormed a church with knives in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during Mass, taking a priest and four others hostage before being shot dead by police.
According to French media, 84-year-old Father Jacques Hamel was killed during the attack by the two men. The two men were shot dead outside the church as police arrived.
Though the motive remains unclear, the French Interior Ministry spokesman said that anti-terrorism prosecutors will lead the investigation.
“The whole of France and all Catholics are wounded. We will stand together,” wrote the French Prime Minister on his Twitter account.
The identity of the two attackers remains unclear. However, the attack is one of many in recent days in Europe and comes less than two weeks after the Bastille Day attack in Nice that killed more than 80 people.
The Nice attack, which was carried out by Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, was not known to authorities. However, authorities later discovered that the attack had been planned. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is not clear whether it was a lone-wolf attack.
The “barbaric attack”, as described by the French Prime Minister, is one of many in recent days in Europe.