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A manhunt is underway for an unknown assailant who fled after shooting a Greek Orthodox priest in the abdomen with a sawed-off shotgun as he was closing his church Saturday in Lyon, France.
Nikolas Kakavelakis, a 45-year-old Greek citizen and father of two, is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after being shot twice, according to The Associated Press. An anonymous public official told the AP that the attacker was alone.
“We are anxious and anguished. It’s really horrible,” said Antoine Callot, the pastor of a neighboring Greek Orthodox church in Lyon. “Now we need to hide and be careful.”
Law enforcement swarmed the area and cordoned off a region around the church in an attempt to apprehend the attacker, whose motive remained unknown. They reportedly detained a man who matches a description of the suspect but have yet to determine his identity, according to the Lyon prosecutor.
Lyon made headlines earlier this week when demonstrators, reportedly of Turkish and Azerbaijani origin, marched through the streets allegedly looking for Armenians while waving the Turkish flag and shouting, “Allahu Akbar!”
🔴 #Lyon : un homme blessé par balle rue St-Lazare dans le 7e arrondissement, dans des circonstances encore obscures. Le tireur serait en fuite. Le secteur actuellement bouclé par les #policiers @lyonmag pic.twitter.com/8RUoFFXDNi
— Julien Damboise (@JDANDOU) October 31, 2020
The incident is the latest example of unrest to have roiled France since a teacher was beheaded last week after showing his students a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. Following the murder of three people in a basilica in Nice, France, French President Emmanuel Macron declared that France was “under attack,” and increased military presence around schools and religious sites.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said in response to the attacks: “We have two people killed inside the church … and a third person who was in a bar facing the church where she had taken refuge. Enough is enough … we have to remove this Islamo-fascism from our territory.”
As The Daily Wire reported:
Three people died in a knife-attack in Nice, France, on Thursday in what may be the third terror attack on French soil in about a month.
A man wielding a knife entered the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice and killed two people and fatally wounded a third who was able to escape outside the church before dying, according to French authorities. Police are treating the incident as an act of terrorism, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“Everything leads us to believe it was a terrorist attack within the Notre Dame basilica,” Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said on Twitter.
Several French media outlets reported that at least one of the victims of the attack was beheaded, mirroring an attack earlier this month in which a French schoolteacher was beheaded by a suspected Islamic radical.
Police captured the attacker soon after the incident, shooting him in the shoulder and transporting him to a local hospital, according to The Guardian. Estrosi said that while the man was being taken into custody, he repeatedly yelled “Allahu Akbar.”