Teen who slashed French priest’s throat had been released from prison after twice attempting to join ISIL

by WorldTribune Staff, July 27, 2016

The jihadist who executed a French priest was wearing an electronic monitoring device after his release from prison for attempts to join Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), reports say.

On July 26, Adel Kermiche and an accomplice entered the church at Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen in Normandy, where he forced Father Jacques Hamel, 86, to his knees and slit his throat. A second man, one of five hostages held by the attackers, was left in critical condition after they attempted to cut his throat.

Adel Kermiche. /Facebook
Adel Kermiche. /Facebook

The terrorists were killed by police as they exited the church.

According to media reports, Kermiche, 19, was stopped by German police in March 2015 and accused of trying to travel to Syria to join ISIL. He was returned to France, where he was given conditional parole awaiting trial. Two months later, he tried to enter Syria again, this time via Turkey. He was sent back to France again and was detained in May 2015.

Despite prosecutors’ protests, he was released in March this year on the condition he wear an electronic monitoring tag and could only leave his home between the hours of 8.30 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. on weekdays. It was during this four-hour time frame that he carried out the attack.

Court documents show Kermiche told the presiding judge he “regretted his attempts to leave for Syria.”

“I want to get back my life, to see my friends, to get married,” he reportedly said during a parole hearing.

While the judge was convinced, the public prosecutor was not. “Even if he is asking for a second chance, there’s a very strong chance he will do the same thing if he is released,” the prosecutor said.

Kermiche, 19, was described by acquaintances as “easily influenced” and a “buffoon” who never took to learning.

A man told the NouvelObs magazine that “Adel, he didn’t have much in his head, he wasn’t very smart and he’d never succeeded at anything.” Another told Le Parisien: “Everyone knows that this kid was a ticking time bomb. He was too strange.”

One teenager who knew him told RTL radio that when he heard about the church attack he knew Kermiche was involved. “I wasn’t surprised. He talked about it all the time. He talked about Islam, the things like this he was going to do. He talked about the Quran and Mecca and he told me ‘I’m going to attack a church’. He said this two months ago on leaving the mosque. On my mother’s life I didn’t believe him.”

French investigators believe the second attacker was a 19-year-old from southeastern France who was previously unknown to the police, a judicial source told Reuters.