Orthodox priest shot in France’s Lyon city, assailant flees

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Lyon (Reuters) – A Greek Orthodox priest was shot and injured on Saturday at a church in the centre of the French city of Lyon by an assailant who then fled, a police source and witnesses said.

The priest was fired on twice at around 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) as he was closing the church, and he was being treated on site for life-threatening injuries, the source said.

Witnesses said the church was Greek Orthodox. Police immediately cordoned off the area.

The incident came two days after a man shouting “Allahu Akbar!” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in Nice. Two weeks ago a schoolteacher in a Paris suburb was beheaded by an 18-year-old attacker who was apparently incensed by the teacher showing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad during a class.

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

The Nice attack took place on the day Muslims celebrate the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday. Many Muslims around the world have been angered about France’s defence of the right to publish cartoons depicting the Prophet.