11:06 GMT +314 October 2019
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    A French police officer stands guard by Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray's city hall following a hostage-taking at a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, northern France

    Hollande Cancels Visit to Czech Republic Following Normandy Church Attack

    © AFP 2019 / CHARLY TRIBALLEAU
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    French President Francois Hollande canceled a planned visit to the Czech Republic following the recent terrorist attack at the church in Normandy, the Elysee Palace said on Tuesday.

    PARIS (Sputnik) — Hollande was scheduled to pay an official visit to the Czech Republic on July 27. He was due to meet with his Czech counterpart Milos Zeman, as well as with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka.

    Hollande was initially set to visit the Czech Republic on July 20, as part of his tour to a number of European countries aimed to discuss reforming the European Union following the public vote in the United Kingdom to leave the bloc, but the tour was postponed after the terrorist attack in Nice.

    Earlier in the day, two armed men took five people hostage at the Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray church in Normandy, killing a priest. The attackers were later killed. Hollande said that the incident was a terrorist attack, adding that the attackers considered themselves to be fighters for Daesh.

    According to the media reports, one of the attackers tried to go to Syria via Turkey in 2015 but was detained and extradited to France, where he was put in prison.

    Daesh is a radical Sunni group notorious for its human rights abuses. It has claimed responsibility for a number of major terrorist attacks staged in different parts of the world. The jihadist group is outlawed in a number of countries, including Russia and the United States.

    Related:

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    'Our Solidarity Unbreakable': EU to Stand Strong After French Church Killing
    Tags:
    Daesh, Milos Zeman, Bohuslav Sobotka, Francois Hollande, Czech Republic, Normandy, France
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