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Priest stabbed during morning mass at Montreal church

By SJA Jafri

MONTERAL: A priest has been injured in a stabbing attack during morning mass at a church in Montreal that was being broadcast live online and on television. 

At around 8.40am, Father Claude Grou was conducting the service at Saint Joseph’s Oratory when the attacker, who has not been named, suddenly rushed at him from one of the pews. 

The 26-year-old man ran towards the priest, slashing him twice in the chest before his knife broke.  His wounds were only superficial as a result.

Father Grou fell to the ground but got back up immediately as worshipers stood between him and the attacker to put distance between them until police arrived. 

The congregants held the attacker in place until police arrived to take him into custody.  It remains unclear what his motive was.  

In a horrifying video of the attack, Grou was filmed falling to the ground and knocking down a banner as he fell.

By the time he got back up, others had run towards the altar to keep the attacker away from him.

The scene was remarkably calm in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

The footage shows the attacker standing almost still near to where Grou was being comforted by a member of the congregation before police arrived. 

The priest was lightly injured and has been taken to hospital where he is expected to recover.  

No one else was injured and the assailant’s motive is not clear. 

The assailant has not yet been charged.

Police say they will interview him this afternoon. 

A woman who was in the congregation spoke afterwards to describe seeing the man rush at the altar and suddenly produce a knife. 

She said it was obvious to her what was happening so she ran out to get a knife

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