Two men armed with knives were "neutralised" after taking several people hostage in a church in northern France. The Islamic State group later claimed responsibility for the incident through Aamaq news agency, which is affiliated with the terror outfit. It said "two soldiers of the Islamic State" had carried out the attack "in response to its calls to target countries" fighting the group alongside the United States-led coalition, The Associated Press reported.

President Francois Hollande has earlier suggested Islamic State involvement behind the "vile terrorist attack", in which one hostage – an 84-year-old priest – was killed, and a few others were injured. Prime Minister Manuel Valls, too, condemned the attack, calling it "barbaric".

Four to six people were being held by the armed men at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy. A priest and two sisters, as well as churchgoers, were among those held hostage, reported news channel France 3. According to Sky News, one of the hostages managed to flee the church and raised an alarm.