A Greek Orthodox priest has been shot and badly wounded by an attacker in the French city of Lyon.
The Christian pastor, who has not yet been identified, shut down his church when the gunman struck around 4 p.m. Saturday.
“The shooter shot the priest twice in the stomach and then ran away,” said an investigation source.
“The victim has been taken to hospital with life-threatening stomach wounds and is in intensive care.”
A Greek Orthodox priest has been shot and badly wounded by an attacker in the French city of Lyon. (Pictured: Law Enforcement Attending Today’s Shooting Scene)
The shooter, in turn, was described as ‘man in his forties’. He would have fired his weapon twice.
When anti-terrorist forces secured the scene in Lyon’s 7th arrondissement, it turned out that the attacker was armed with a sawed-off shotgun.
A manhunt was launched across town and there were fears it would strike again.
The church where the priest was employed is well known to the large Greek community in Lyons.
It is thought that there were no guards outside the church, as there are at other Christian places of worship in France.
The injured priest is of Greek nationality, a spokesman for the local emergency services said, confirming his condition was “life-threatening.”
After the attack, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said: “This is a very serious incident. Details are still emerging. A crisis unit has been established. ‘
It came to the day that President Macron said it was “our duty to protect our freedoms” as furious protests continued to rage against Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the prophet Mohammed he supported.
Macron told Qatar-based TV channel Al-Jazeera: ‘I can understand that people may be shocked by the caricatures, but I will never accept that violence is justified.
“I consider it our duty to protect our freedoms and rights.”
There have been numerous calls from Al-Qaeda to attack French interests.
It follows an Islamist terrorist who murdered three people on Thursday in a Catholic basilica in Nice, in the south of France.
Brahim Aoussaoui, a 21-year-old Tunisian, survived despite being shot by police 14 times and is currently under armed guard in a secure hospital wing.
French President Emmanuel Macron immediately declared France “under attack” following disturbing incidents involving extremists targeting Christians.
Pictured: The Greek Orthodox Church in Lyon where a priest was shot earlier in the day
The attacks come amid anger at the Muslim and Arab world against President Macron for defending satirical cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad and the Muslims who worship him.
Mr. Macron said on a visit to the emergency services in Nice on Thursday: “We will not give in. Our country has once again been hit by an Islamic terrorist attack.
‘Again, this morning it was three of our fellow countrymen who fell into this basilica in Nice. It is clear that France is under attack. ‘
The Nice attack was the same one that killed school teacher Samuel Paty in the Parisian suburb of Conflans Sainte Honorine earlier this month.
Paty was beheaded by an 18-year-old Chechen refugee after the teacher showed children the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.
Mr. Macron had placed an additional 4,000 soldiers on the streets of France, in part to protect churches and other places of worship.
Anger against French President Emmanuel Macron continues to rage in the Muslim world as protests were held today in India, Pakistan and Iraq over the Prime Minister’s position on Charlie Hebdo cartoons.
Macron has become the focal point of Islamic anger after defending Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, which were used two weeks ago as justification for the murder of a teacher in the outskirts of Paris.
Protests are taking place all over the Muslim world, with demonstrations in Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and India.
Turkish President Erdogan said on Wednesday that Western countries mocking Islam want to “ relaunch the Crusades, ” fueling a confrontation with France over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad fomenting anger in Muslim-majority countries.
Speaking to his AK party’s lawmakers in parliament, President Tayyip Erdogan also said resisting attacks on the Prophet is “ a matter of honor for us, ” suggesting that Ankara might enter a long-term stalemate.
The feud with France flared up after a French teacher showing cartoons of the prophet to students, published in the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, was beheaded in France this month.
The caricatures are considered blasphemous by Muslims.
In a sign of anger at France’s defense of the right to publish the cartoons, protesters denounced France in street protests in several Muslim-majority countries.
“France down, it has offended our prophet,” shouted protesters in the Somali capital Mogadishu.
Erdogan sharply criticized Macron over the weekend, saying the French leader needed a mental health check, prompting France to recall its ambassador from Ankara. On Monday, Erdogan urged a boycott of French products.
The Turkish leader again questioned Macron’s state of mind on Wednesday, describing in his comments to ‘the West’ the colonial powers for their record as ‘killers’ in Africa and the Middle East.
They literally want to relaunch the Crusades. Since the Crusades, the seeds of evil and hatred have started to fall on these (Islamic) countries and then peace was disrupted. ‘
Turkish officials separately said Ankara would take legal and diplomatic action in response to a caricature of Erdogan in Charlie Hebdo, which officials called a “disgusting attempt” to “spread his cultural racism and hatred.”
The cartoon on the cover of Charlie Hebdo showed Erdogan sitting in a white T-shirt and underpants, with a can of liquor in hand and lifting the skirt of a woman in an Islamic hijab to reveal her naked buttocks.
“Our fight against these rude, ill-intentioned and insulting steps will continue to the end, with reason but determination,” said Turkey’s Communications Directorate.
State media reported that Turkish prosecutors had opened an investigation into Charlie Hebdo’s executives.
The feud originated in a knife attack outside a French school on October 16, in which a man of Chechen descent beheaded Samuel Paty, a teacher who had shown students cartoons of the Prophet in a class on social studies.
The French government, backed by many citizens, saw the beheading as an attack on freedom of speech and said it would defend the right to display the cartoons.
Macron has said he would redouble efforts to prevent conservative Islamic beliefs from undermining French values.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued security advisories to French citizens in Indonesia, Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq and Mauritania on Tuesday, advising them to exercise caution. They should stay away from protests about the cartoons and avoid public gatherings.
In Cairo, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said freedom of speech must stop if it offends more than 1.5 billion people.
The grand imam of al-Azhar University in Egypt, one of the world’s foremost seats of Sunni Muslim education, urged the international community to criminalize ‘anti-Muslim’ actions.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo today condemned what he called ‘terrorist’ attacks in France, but also warned that President Macron’s statements had ‘insulted Islam’ and ‘damaged the unity of Muslims everywhere’.
Conservative Islamic organizations in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, have called for protests and boycotts against France, sharing an image of Macron as a red-eyed devil snail.
“ Freedom of speech that harms noble purity and sacred values and the symbol of religion is so wrong, it shouldn’t be justified and it should stop, ” said the Indonesian leader, known by his popular name Jokowi, in a statement. television program. address.
However, he added that “linking religion to terrorist attacks is a huge mistake. Terrorists are terrorists. ‘