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Priest seriously injured in France shooting incident

Priest seriously injured in France shooting incident

Representational Image, source:

Paris : The search has been on to nab the man who fled the scene after shooting a Greek Orthodox priest in the French city of Lyon, reports say.

The incident took place at about 4 p.m. (local time) on Saturday evening when the priest, Nikolas Kakavelakis, was closing the church, the BBC reported citing officials as saying. The priest was seriously injured in the shooting.

While the motive for the shooting was yet to be ascertained, the authorities have launched a probe for attempted murder.

Police said the attacker was armed with a sawn-off shotgun.

While the perpetrator managed to escape, "a person who could correspond to the description given by the initial witnesses has been placed in police custody", Lyon's public prosecutor Nicolas Jacquet told the media on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, Kakavelakis has been hospitalised with life-threatening injuries and is said to be critical condition.

Calling the incident an "Islamist terrorist attack", President Emmanuel Macron said that thousands of extra soldiers have been deployed to protect public sites, including places of worship, the BBC reported.

In a statement, Prime Minister Jean Castex said the government was determined to allow "each and everyone to practice their worship in complete safety and in complete freedom".

Saturday's shooting came three days after the 21-year-old Tunisian man Brahim Aouissaoui stabbed three people to death inside the Notre-Dame basilica in the city of Nice.

In another gruesome attack on October 16, middle-school teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by an 18-year-old Muslim immigrant, Abdullakh Anzorov inside a school near Paris.

France has raised its national security alert to the highest level.

IANS report with edits

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