France church attackers screenshot
A still image taken on July 28, 2016 from an undated video posted on social media shows two men that the Islamic State said were the attackers of a church in France seated on the ground at an unknown location.Reuters

The two young men who attacked a church in France and slit the throat of a priest had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group (Isis), a video showed. The French Police have identified the second attacker too, whose face was left disfigured after he was shot dead.

The two attackers were shot dead by the police after they took hostages at a church in Rouen in northern France. One of the attackers was identified as Adel Kermiche, 19, a French national. Documents were found at Kermiche's residence of a man named Abdel Malik Petitjean, also 19, sources told Agence France Presse. Police confirmed that the second attacker was Petitjean after conducting DNA tests. He was on the watch list for radicals, BBC reported. The police had received a tip-off from an unnamed foreign intelligence agency about a young man who was preparing to conduct a terror attack. 

The video posted by Isis' news agency Amaq shows two bearded men swearing allegiance to Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. They had called themselves Abu Omar and Abu Jalil al-Hanafi. They  are seen holding an Isis flag printed on paper. The French Police have not verified the video and it remains unclear where it was shot.  

Kermiche was a convicted felon, who had to be tried for terror charges. He was out on parole, despite the prosecutor's disapproval, and had an electronic tag on his foot. Malik reportedly resembled a man whom the anti-terrorism police were searching for as it was suspected that he would be committing an act of terror, according to AFP.

Kermiche had tried twice to visit Syria under false identity. He was arrested in Turkey in May 2015 and was in custody until March 2016, after which he was released, said Paris prosecutor Francois Molins. His mother's colleague said that "he was the youngest child and had psychological problems".

The police in France have been criticised repeatedly for the security lapses that led to the death of almost 200 people since December 2015. This was the second attack in less than two weeks in France.

The Bastille Day attack in Nice in the country had killed more than 80 people. The attacker had pledged allegiance to Isis, also known as Daesh.

Media organisations in France, like Le Monde, France 24 and others have refused to display images or identities of the terrorists to "to avoid giving posthumous credit."

The attack was also denounced by Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist representatives.

Also read