Churches Around the World Urged to Take Precautions After ISIS Attack on Church in France

Police officers stand outside the French Embassy in London. (Photo: Getty Images)
Police officers stand outside the French Embassy in London. (Photo: Getty Images)

British police have urged Christian organizations to take safety precautions in the wake of the attack on a Roman Catholic church by Islamic State sympathizers in France.

Two men pledging allegiance to the ultra hard-line Sunni Muslim terrorist group murdered a priest and gravely wounded another person in the assault on the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in Normandy on Tuesday morning.

“Following recent events in France, we are reiterating our protective security advice to Christian places of worship and have circulated specific advice today,” said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, a senior metropolitan officer tasked with organizing special protection measures.

“There is no specific intelligence relating to attacks against the Christian community in the U.K. However, as we have seen, Daesh and other terrorist groups have targeted Christian as well as Jewish and other faith groups in the West and beyond,” Mr. Basu said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

Church administrators have been asked to review their security arrangements as a precaution, said the police.

Like France, the U.K. is a prime target for Islamic State. British authorities have foiled at least seven plots in recent months, while the security services have been on a state of high alert since late 2014.

The U.K.’s terror threat alert is now at “severe,” meaning an attack is highly likely. The only higher ranking is “critical,” which means an attack is expected imminently.

Around 850 British Muslim extremists have traveled to Syria to fight alongside militant groups like Islamic State and al Qaeda, according to the government, which estimates half have since returned to the U.K.

The Wall Street Journal