The Islamic State has released a video showing the Normandy priest killers making the bay’ah, the ritual vow of loyalty to the “caliphate,” before carrying out their horrific act of slaughter.
One of the jihadis appearing in the video is Adel Kermiche, described as either 18 or 19 years old by various sources. He is the one that was sprung from prison by the French despite repeated attempts to join the Islamic State in Syria, and was actually wearing an electronic monitor when he murdered 86-year-old Catholic priest Father Jacques Hamel in his own church. The monitor was disabled for several hours every day, to give Kermiche “unsupervised release” time.
The other jihadi has not been positively identified yet, although the UK Telegraph reports that police sources believe he is 19-year-old Abdel Malik P., the name gleaned from an ID card found during a search of Kermiche’s family home.
An individual by that name is said to be “known to the security services as having been radicalized, although he had no convictions.” Like Kermiche, Abdel Malik P. allegedly tried to journey to Syria to join the Islamic State.
The BBC observes that positive identification of the second jihadi has been difficult, because his face was “badly disfigured by the police shooting” at the conclusion of the hostage crisis. Both terrorists were shot dead by police as they ran from the church screaming “Allahu akbar!”
Sky News notes that an 86-year-old parishioner at the church suffered serious knife wounds after he was forced to record the murder of Father Hamel on video.
In the video, which comes from the Islamic State’s “news agency” Amaq, the two killers pose with an ISIS flag and occasionally hold hands as they make their pledge of allegiance to “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
ISIS has claimed the church killers were its “soldiers,” and French President Francoise Hollande has said Father Hamel’s killing was a “cowardly assassination” carried out by “two terrorists in the name of Daesh,” another name for ISIS.