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France Identifies 2nd Man Who Attacked Church and Killed Priest

PARIS — French authorities Thursday identified a second man who stormed a church in Normandy and killed an 85-year-old priest as he celebrated Mass.

The Paris prosecutor’s office identified the man as Abdel-Malik Nabil Petitjean, 19. It was not clear how he knew the other killer, Adel Kermiche, also 19, who lived near the church, the Église St.-
Étienne, in St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray, a working-class suburb of Rouen.

Both teenagers were of Algerian ancestry. They were shot dead by police after the assault on the church.

The Islamic State released videos Wednesday in which the two teenagers pledged allegiance to the terrorist group before embarking on their assault.

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Petitjean was born in St.-Dié-des-Vosges, in Lorraine in northeastern France, but grew up in Aix-les-Bains, in the southeast.

Petitjean flew to Turkey on June 10 but was stopped at the airport, before he reached the passport-control desk, when he was seen talking with someone who was on the no-entry list, according to a Turkish official. Petitjean left Turkey the next day, and was placed on a blacklist the following week, and French authorities were immediately notified, the official said.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said on Thursday that Petitjean came to the attention of police on June 29. On July 22 — four days before the attack — a foreign intelligence agency sent his picture to French intelligence services, but without a name, the office said.

New York Times