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Funeral held for French priest killed by Islamist militants

Tuesday, August 02, 2016 - 01:53

Father Jacques Hamel's family, fellow clergy, government servants and townspeople join a funeral service for the slain priest at a Rouen Cathedral. Rough Cut - subtitled (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT - SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Hundreds of mourners gathered at Rouen Cathedral in northern France on Tuesday (August 2) for the funeral of the elderly Roman Catholic priest knifed to death at a church altar by Islamist militants. Father Jacques Hamel was leading morning mass in the nearby town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray last Tuesday when the attackers stormed in, forced the 85-year-old to his knees and slit his throat while chanting in Arabic. Addressing the congregation, the priest's sister Roselyne Hamel recounted how, during his military service in Algeria, her brother had refused an officer's grade so as not to give the order to kill others, and how he once emerged the sole survivor in a desert shootout. "He would often ask himself why me? Today, Jacques, our brother, your brother, you have your answer: Our God of love and mercy chose you to be at the service of others," she said. Hamel's niece, Jessica Deleporte, told the congregation how it was like growing up with her uncle, who she called Tonton Jacques, whose home was where she felt "most at home" because she was not judged. "Like you, I choose respect. Like you, I choose love. And like you, I choose the other. I love you, Uncle, I will miss you, we will miss you," Deleporte said. The service took place amid tight security and was to be followed by a private burial. The attack was the first on a church in western Europe. It came just 12 days after a Tunisian who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State drove his truck through a crowd of Bastille Day revelers in Nice city, killing 84 people.

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Funeral held for French priest killed by Islamist militants

Tuesday, August 02, 2016 - 01:53