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Gunman shoots Greek priest in France’s Lyon, assailant at large: Police

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Security forces are deployed after a shooting incident in Lyon, France, on October 31, 2020.

A Greek priest has been shot and wounded at a church in the French city of Lyon by an assailant who is still at large, police say.

The incident occurred at around 4 p.m. local time (1400 GMT) on Saturday when an unidentified man fired twice with a hunting rifle at a Greek Orthodox priest as he was closing his church, the local police said.

The assailant swiftly fled the scene and the priest was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries after being hit in the abdomen, the police further said, adding that the hunt for the gunman, who acted alone, had already begun.

The attack is under investigation, police said, adding that the reason for the attack was yet unclear and whether it is related to recent attacks in France.

The incident occurred two days after a knife-wielding man beheaded a woman and killed two others and wounded several people in Nice before he was shot and wounded by police.

The attack also came days after another assailant decapitated Samuel Paty, a history teacher, who had used offensive cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in a civics class in the capital Paris.

The Paris attack prompted French President Emmanuel Macron to say that he would fight against “Islamist separatism,” which according to him threatens to take control in some Muslim communities across France.

The French leader also defended showing the insulting cartoon in schools across the European country and considered the highly provocative move in line with freedom of expression, a move that has infuriated Muslims across the globe.

On Friday, thousands of Muslims staged rallies in different countries across the world, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Lebanon, Palestine, and India, to condemn France’s anti-Islam stance.

A number of countries have already boycotted French products to show their strong dissent against Macron’s anti-Islam remarks.

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