Two days after a knife attack at a Catholic church in the French city of Nice, a Greek Orthodox priest was shot on October 31 while he was closing his church in the French city of Lyon.
The 52-year-old priest was shot in the stomach and he was rushed to hospital where the doctor said that his condition is life-threatening, according to police and the Lyon prosecutor’s office.
The attacker fled the spot after the shooting and is still on the run. A police spokesperson said the shooter was wearing a long black coat and a black beanie, and seemed to be hiding the shotgun under his coat.
Police cordoned off the largely residential neighborhood around the church, and detained one person who resembled descriptions of the gunman but was unarmed at the time of his arrest, the Lyon prosecutor said in a statement. The identity of the accused has not been established yet. However, the police has launched an investigation into the matter.
Residents of the neighborhood and a municipal police patrol reported hearing two shots near the Hellenic Orthodox church in Lyon’s 7th district on Saturday, the Lyon prosecutor’s office said in a statement. They saw a person running and later found the wounded priest at the back door of the church, prosecutors said.
However, the motive of the attack is yet to be ascertained, according to the statement. The Saturday incident comes after a man armed with a knife killed three people in a church in Nice on Thursday. Earlier on October 16, a history teacher was beheaded outside his school in broad daylight by a terrorist for showing the cartoons of Prophet Mohammad to his students.
The attack drew condemnation from political parties and President Emmanuel Macron, who called the crime an “Islamist terrorist attack”. Mr. Macron said France would never surrender its core values in the face of such terror attacks. Thousands of troops have been deployed to protect churches and schools in the wake of the attack.
France has witnessed three attacks in just one month which have created an atmosphere of fear across the country. French Prime Minister Jean Castex told reporters that a “serious incident” had occurred but that “we don’t have precise elements yet.” Castex also said a “crisis center” would be activated.