France: Attacks targeting Christians on the rise?

Telltale signs of increasing attacks on Christian communities in France appear to be showing.

On Tuesday, July 26 France and the rest of the world were shocked once again at the brutal killing of an 84-year-old priest in Normandy. The attackers, who were eventually shot dead by police, were said to have pledged allegiance to ISIS.

French CRS police stand guard in front of the church a day after a hostage-taking in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen in Normandy, France, where French priest, Father Jacques Hamel, was killed with a knife and another hostage seriously wounded in an attack on the church. | Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

The incident happened barely two weeks since the Bastille Day tragedy when an ISIS sympathizer drove through crowds who were celebrating on the street and killed 84 people.

Tuesday's tragedy made it to global headlines, but there are other seemingly small attacks on Christian communities that the international media has not taken notice of, according to an article from Fox News.

The attacks mostly involved the desecration of church altars and places of worship.

French newspaper La Provence reported in May that the altar at the Church of St. Madeleine-de-l'Île in the municipality of Martigues was set on fire, according to the National Catholic Register. Fortunately, the altar was marble. The fire did not spread, and a priest, Father Benoît Delabre, was able to extinguish it.

The Federation for Europa Christiana reported three more attacks in April and May, Fox News noted.

At the cemetery of La Chapelle-du-Bard, crosses were found shattered.

Father Delabre, the priest who extinguished the fire at the Church of St. Madeleine, was attacked after the burning of the altar, causing him to suffer a blackened eye.

The same priest found the tabernacle at the Saint-Genest Church open. The communion elements were scattered on the ground.

"We know just how serious these attacks are on signs and persons because of their faith. ... The Catholic faith, its symbols and those that profess it deserve to be respected just like every kind of religious expression that does not disturb the public order," the publication quoted the priest as saying.

According to the Register, more than 100 church websites were hacked, also in April, as reported by local French paper La Croix. The hackers were believed to be Tunisian cyber jihadists who refer to themselves as the Fallaga Team.

All in all, there were 810 attacks on churches and other places of worship in France in 2015 alone.

Attackers in France have also been targeting Jewish communities.