Two knifemen have been killed after taking hostages in a church in France, with local reports adding that one of the hostages died during the incident.
#BREAKING One hostage killed at church in northern France: police source
-- AFP news agency (@AFP) July 26, 2016
A priest, two nuns and several worshippers were involved in the incident in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, south of Rouen, in Normandy.
According to unconfirmed reports, the hostage takers were shot dead by police.
Local reports also quoted police sources as saying that "at least" one of the hostages had been killed, thought to be the priest. Later reports suggested that the priest died from a slashed throat during the incident, while one of the members of the congregation was seriously injured.
[#SaintEtienneDuRouvray] Ne franchissez pas le périmètre de sécurité pr prendre des photos/vidéos, vous perturbez le travail des policiers.
-- Police Nationale (@PoliceNationale) July 26, 2016
The French Police Nationale sent a Tweet urging media not to cross security tape at the scene or take pictures or video.
The area around the church remained cordoned off and the old town was out of bounds.
President Francois Hollande and French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve were reported to be travelling to the scene.
The hostage-takers entered the church armed with knives shortly before 10am local time (9am UK time), said French media sources. The police operation was completed by 11am French time (10am UK time).
Officers from the elite anti-terrorist Raid squad were called in to assist local police.
A number of shots were heard over a period of around 15 seconds as the incident came to an end.
Newspaper Le Figaro quoted police sources as saying that at least one of the two hostage-takers had a beard and was wearing a "chachia" skullcap of the kind worn by some Muslims.