French police have detained the suspected shooter who injured an Orthodox priest in Lyon earlier today, local media reported. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has urged residents of Lyon to avoid the area around Jean-Macé sector, where the shooting occurred. The mayor of Lyon has said there is no information about the motive of the shooter.
Later, the prosecutor confirmed that an arrest had been made over the shooting.
Local media says the attack occurred when the priest, a Greek citizen, was closing the church. According to LyonMag, the perpetrator was armed with a sawed-off shotgun, fired his weapon twice, and fled the scene. The priest is reportedly in a serious condition.
🔴 #Lyon : un homme blessé par balle rue St-Lazare dans le 7e arrondissement, dans des circonstances encore obscures. Le tireur serait en fuite. Le secteur actuellement bouclé par les #policiers @lyonmag pic.twitter.com/8RUoFFXDNi— Julien Damboise (@JDANDOU) October 31, 2020
The French Interior Ministry has said on social media that security and rescue services are currently at the crime scene.
🔴 #ALERTE | Un événement est en cours à proximité du secteur Jean-Macé, dans le 7ème arrondissement à #Lyon.— Ministère de l'Intérieur - Alerte (@Beauvau_Alerte) October 31, 2020
Les forces de sécurité et de secours sont sur place. Un périmètre de sécurité a été installé.
⚠️ Évitez le secteur et suivez les consignes des autorités. pic.twitter.com/ZZxeTADcAF
Local media says the perpetrator is about 40 years old and didn’t know his victim. The shooter is still at large. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has said he is returning to Paris where he will form a crisis committee together with President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Jean Castex, who has already departed for the French capital.
#Lyon : Évitez le secteur et suivez les consignes.— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) October 31, 2020
Soutien à nos forces de sécurité et de secours sur place.
Je rentre à Paris et ouvre la cellule de crise, en lien avec le Président de la République et le Premier ministre.
New Wave of Terrorist Attacks and Calls For Boycott
France has been hit by a wave of terrorist attacks since 16 October, when an 18-year-old man beheaded 47-year-old schoolteacher Samuel Paty for displaying caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad during a class on freedom of speech, where he also discussed the Charlie Hebdo case. The killing caused anger and indignation in France, with President Macron calling Islam a religion "in crisis" and defending Paty’s decision to teach his students about freedom of speech and to show the controversial caricatures.
Macron’s comments caused outrage in the Muslim world, where depictions of the Prophet Muhammad are regarded as a taboo, while satire about Islam or of its religious representatives is considered blasphemous and is in some countries is punishable by death.
Large-scale protests were held over the past weeks in Bangladesh, Lebanon, Pakistan, and other Muslim-majority countries. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Macron’s statement on Islam and said the French leader needed "mental checks". Erdogan also called for a boycott of French products.
Several attacks have occurred since tensions rose between France and the Muslim world. Two days ago, a young Tunisian man, who arrived in France in September, stabbed three people to death in the Notre-Dame Basilica in the city of Nice. Another man armed with a sharp tool injured a guard near the French Consulate in Saudi Arabia on the same day. The perpetrator was arrested. Also on Thursday, French police shot dead a man in Avignon prefecture after he threatened people with a knife.