Two attackers Tuesday seized hostages in a church near the Normandy city of Rouen, killing a priest by brutally slitting his throat. Police later rescued three other hostages and shot and killed the two terrorists.
Another person inside the church was seriously injured and is hovering between life and death, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told local media.
The hostage-taking occurred during morning Mass, Brandet told reporters.
The identities of the attackers and motive for the attack are unclear, according to a security official, who was not authorized to be publicly named.
French President Francois Hollande and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve visited the town and interacted with the emergency workers.
Brandet, speaking on a French TV channel said the RAID special intervention force was searching the church and its perimeter for possible explosives and terrorism investigators had been summoned.
France is currently on high alert after an attack in Nice on Bastille Day July 14 that killed 84 people and a string of deadly attacks last year claimed by the Islamic State group that killed 147 others.