In another gun rampage after the Nice attack, an Orthodox priest was wounded after an attacker shot him at a church in the French city of Lyon, local media reported.
French police say the attacker is on the run after lodging attacks with a swan-off shotgun at 4 PM, a local time when the priest was closing the church. The source has been unnamed by local media.
“An event is underway near the Jean-Macé sector, in the 7th arrondissement in Lyon. Security and rescue forces are there. A security perimeter has been installed. Avoid the area and follow the instructions of the authorities,” France interior ministry said in a tweet in Franch.
The 55-years-old priest, of Greek nationality, was reportedly being treated for life-threatening injuries he sustained after the attack. He was shot at point-blank in the liver, as per a source speaking to AFP news agency.
This would be the third attack of a similar kind (if confirmed) to endow on France over a controversial cartoon of Islam’s prophet Mohammed.
Just two days ago, a man, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is the Greatest) wielded a knife rampage, beheading a woman and injuring two other people to death in Nice, in the aftermath of the October 16 Samuel Patty beheading.
France is currently on high-alert after two deadly attacks stuck the nation following President Emmanuel Macron’s vow to not give up making cartoons for freedom of expression and dismantle radical Islam.
Frace’s iron stance on radical Islam has lodged an ideological war between France and the Muslim world, which is currently uprising in protest over France’s perceived blasphemy on Islam.
Thousands of troops have been deployed across the nation to protect places of mass gathering like schools and religious institutions the often targets of Jihadist attacks.
However, despite the government’s publicized promise of increased security presence near churches and schools, the Associated Press says the real scene was not the same, at least apparently.
AP journalists in the Nice attack scene did not notice any increased army presence near the church, after the Samuel Patty beheading, nor there were guards protecting the Lyon church where the Greek priest was attacked.
It is not immediately clear if the Lyon attack is anyways related to the two other attacks.
France is not against any religion: Macron
The French President, seeking to ease tensions, said France is not against any religion to Arabic media AlJazeera news agency, broadcast Saturday. He said in the recent few days a lot of lies were spread about France, about its so-called religious intolerance, which he wants to be clear about.
“I have seen too many lies, I want to be clear: what we are doing in France is to fight terrorism which is done in the name of Islam, not Islam. It claimed the lives of over 300 of our fellow citizens!,” President Macron told in the interview.
“I was made to say: “I support the cartoons humiliating the prophet”. I am in favor of people being able to write, think and draw freely in my country,” Macron wrote in another tweet refering to the words that incited the ideological war betwwn France and the Muslim community.
“It’s a right, it’s our freedoms. I understand that it can be shocking, I respect that, but we have to talk about it,” he said.