Authorities have detained the cousin of one of the men believed to have murdered a French priest in a brazen church attack last week. Farid K., 30, is under investigation on suspicion of terrorist association.
A cousin of Abdel Malik Nabil Petitjean, one of the two men believed to have murdered a French priest in a church near the French city of Rouen last week, has been detained and charged, the Paris prosecutor's office said on Sunday.
Prosecutors identified the man as Farid K., 30, born in Nancy in eastern France. He was put under formal investigation on suspicion of terrorist association with a view to perpetrating a crime.
A second man, identified as Jean-Philippe Steven J., 20, was also detained and put under formal investigation for attempting to travel to Syria with Petitjean in June.
Church attack suspect had tried to reach Syria
Knife-wielding attackers struck a church service in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen, on Tuesday, slitting the throat of 85-year-old priestJacques Hamel.
A special French police unit confronted the attackers as they left the church, shooting them dead and freeing three hostages.
Police identified Petitjean, 19, as one of the attackers, along with the 19-year-old Adel Kermiche.
Kermiche had made several failed bids to reach Syria to join up with jihadists. He wore an electronic tag and was awaiting trial for alleged membership in a terrorist organization. Investigators are currently trying to determine how the two men met.
Responsibility for the attack - the first jihadist attack on a church on French soil by the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) - was claimed via Amaq, the mouthpiece agency of IS.
IS, which in recent years has become notorious for its brutality in Syria and Iraq, released a video least week purportedly showing Petitjean calling for Muslims to destroy France.
bw/cmk (AFP, Reuters)