Lyon gun attack: Greek Orthodox priest shot and seriously injured

A Greek Orthodox priest is in a life-threatening condition after being shot in a gun attack in the French city of Lyon.

Police said the priest was fired at twice in the abdomen while he was closing the church at about 4pm, and added that the attacker was still at large.

Officers locked down the area and told the public to stay away.

The attacker was alone and fired from a hunting rifle, a police source said, while local media described seeing an injured man being stretchered from the church.

It is understood the gunman was wearing a long black raincoat and a black hat.

Anti-terrorist authorities were not investigating the shooting, but a special emergency team is following the case while officers search for the gunman.

In a tweet, the mayor of Lyon, Gregory Doucet said: “My first thoughts are with the very seriously injured victim. The motive is unknown, the suspect is on the run. An investigation is underway, let’s be careful.”

Meanwhile, the British Embassy in France posted an alert about the “ongoing security incident” in the Jean-Mace area of the city’s 7th arrondissement.

It comes two days after a woman was beheaded and two others killed by a man shouting “Allahu Akbar” in a church in Nice. The incident took place on the same day Muslims celebrate the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday.

In a separate attack, Paris schoolteacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by an 18-year-old Chechen two weeks ago after showing his students a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad.

France’s defence of the right to publish cartoons depicting the Prophet have angered many Muslims around the world and deepened tensions in the nation.

Ministers have warned of a risk of other Islamist militant attacks.

In response to the recent violence, President Emmanuel Macron sent thousands of soldiers to protect sites such as schools and places of worship.

After today’s shooting, French Prime Minister Jean Castex reiterated a commitment to guard those places.

He said French people can “count on the nation to allow them to practice their religion in full safety and freedom”.

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