An unidentified gunman shot a Greek Orthodox priest on Saturday afternoon at a church in the French city of Lyon. The priest sustained serious injuries and is “fighting for his life,” news reports said.

Police have launched a manhunt around the city. “Security and emergency personnel are at the scene,” France’s Interior Ministry said, urging people to “avoid the area” where the shooting took place.

“The priest, who has Greek nationality, was closing his church…when the attack happened and is now in a serious condition,” German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported. The shooting came just days after a Tunisian immigrant beheaded a 70-year-old woman and stabbed to death two other inside a church in Nice, southern France.

TV channel France24 reported the incident:

An attacker armed with a sawn-off shotgun on Saturday wounded an Orthodox priest in a shooting in the French city of Lyon before fleeing, said a police source.

The priest, who has Greek nationality, was closing his church at around 4pm local time (3pm GMT) when he was shot twice, and was being treated on-site for life-threatening injuries, said the source, who asked not to be named. (…)

French ministers had warned that other Islamist militant attacks could take place. President Emmanuel Macron has deployed thousands of soldiers to protect sites such as places of worship and schools.

“Unconfirmed reports that the assailant shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ while committing the shooting,” The Greek City News website reported. French authorities have not yet confirmed the identity or the motives of the gunman.

While the motive in this incident is not yet known, a spate of Islamic terror attacks began on October 16 with the beheading of a French school teacher by a Muslim refugee from Chechnya, Russia. The teacher had previously shown Mohammad caricatures from the Charlie Hebdo magazine to his class as part of a discussion on free speech. On Thursday, there were reports of foiled Islamist terror attacks in French city of Avignon and France’s diplomatic mission in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia.

Muslims across the world have protested against French President Emmanuel Macron’s clampdown on Islamist groups in France, and his defense of free speech in light of the teacher’s beheading. Muslim leaders including, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iran’s Ayatullah Khamenei, have riled up their people against France and the French president with wild allegation of ‘Islamophobia.’

“Muslim world condemns Macron, France over treatment of Islam,” Qatar’s state-owned Al Jazeera network reported earlier this week. “Muslims on social media “are pouring out their feelings under the English hashtags #BoycottFrenchProducts and #Islam and #NeverTheProphet in Arabic. (…) Since Friday, social media has been awash with criticism of Macron in countries from west to east, including the UK, Kuwait, Qatar, Palestine, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.”

 

 
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