France formally identifies second church attacker

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Published on Jul 29, 2016 06:07 AM IST
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ByAgence France­Presse

PARIS: The second militant involved in a French church attack had tried to travel to Syria, prosecutors said on Thursday as calls mounted for the prime minister and interior minister to resign after the terror attack.

The prosecutor’s office said that the second killer was 19-year-old Abdel Malik Petitjean, who was listed on France’s “Fiche S” of people posing a potential threat to national security in June after trying to reach Syria from Turkey.

Petitjean, whose face was disfigured after being gunned down by police, had been harder to identify than his accomplice Adel Kermiche, 19, and investigators confirmed his identity after a DNA match with his mother.

The two young militants were shown pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group in a video sometime before they stormed a church in the northern town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray Tuesday and slit the 86-year-old priest’s throat at the altar.

A brief show of political unity at a mass attended by different faiths in Paris Wednesday quickly dissolved as Prime Minister Manuel Valls and interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve faced fresh calls to resign.

“If the government is not responsible for the wave of terrorism, it is guilty of not having done everything to stop it,” said Laurent Wauqiez, the deputy leader of the right-wing Republicans party .

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