Orthodox priest shot in Lyon as French police launch hunt for gunman – World News

A priest is fighting for his life after being shot by a man “with a sawn-off shotgun” in the French city of Lyon.

France’s interior ministry has said a serious incident is underway, with security forces at the scene.

Police said the gunman fled after the attack, which happened at around 4pm local time – 3pm in the UK – as the 52-year-old Greek Orthodox clergyman was closing the church.

He was treated on site for life-threatening injuries, a police source said.

It is believed the attacker fled after a woman who witnessed the attack screamed and shouted for help.

An investigator said: “The gunman shot the priest twice in the stomach and then ran away.

“The victim was rushed to hospital with life threatening stomach wounds and is in intensive care.”

The gunman was described as “male and in his forties”. He is thought to have fired his weapon twice.



Orthodox priest shot in Lyon as French police launch hunt for gunman - World News
A priest is fighting for his life after the shooting

It comes two days after a man shouting “Allahu Akbar!” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two others in a church in Nice.

Brahim Aoussaoui, a 21-year-old Tunisian, survived despite being shot 14 times by police, and is currently under armed guard in a secure hospital wing.

French President Emmanuel Macron immediately declared France ‘under attack’ following disturbing incidents related to extremists targeting Christians.

Two weeks ago a schoolteacher in a Paris suburb was beheaded by an 18-year-old Chechen, apparently incensed by the teacher showing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad in class.



Orthodox priest shot in Lyon as French police launch hunt for gunman - World News
The shooting happened as the priest was closing his church, it is reported


Orthodox priest shot in Lyon as French police launch hunt for gunman - World News
Security services were called the scene following the attack

Ministers had warned that other Islamist militant attacks
could take place.

Shortly after news of the attack broke, Mr Macron posted on Twitter: “Contrary to what I have heard and seen a lot on social media in recent days, our country has no problem with any religion.

“They all practice freely! No stigmatization: France is attached to peace and to living together.”

Mr Macron has deployed thousands of soldiers to protect sites such as places of worship and schools.

During a visit to emergency service personnel in Nice on Thursday, Mr Macron said: “We won’t give in. Once again, our country has been hit by an Islamist terrorist attack.

“Once again, this morning, it was three of our compatriots who fell, in Nice, in this basilica. Very clearly, it is France that is under attack.”

Those living in the area were told to lock themselves in their homes and stay away from public places.

France is currently in lockdown because of the Coronavirus crisis, but people are allowed to leave their houses for up to an hour a day to go shopping or to take exercise.