Near the Jean-Macé sector, in the 7e district in the east of Lyon, an Orthodox priest of Greek nationality and aged 52 was the victim of shots with a sawed-off shotgun around 4 p.m. The alleged perpetrator has fled, a police source told AFP. Security and emergency forces are on site and a security perimeter has been installed.
This priest was “Closing his church”, said this police source, adding that he is in serious condition. Still aware, he indicated he did not know the person who assaulted him, reports Progress de Lyon on its website.
Crisis unit at the Ministry of the Interior
A crisis unit has just been activated at the Ministry of the Interior, in reaction to this attack. This aggression takes place in an extremely tense climate, barely a few days after the terrorist attack in Nice and while the Prime Minister was traveling to Rouen. In the company of the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, Jean Castex exchanged with the Catholic community before praying in front of the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, where Father Hamel was assassinated in 2016 by two jihadists.
However, the greatest caution was in order, the motivations of the aggression being still unknown. As it stands, the national anti-terrorist prosecution was not seized and ” no hypothesis is excluded », Indicates the Lyon prosecutor’s office. Observers specify, moreover, that Lyon is the scene of strong tensions between Turkish and Armenian communities, against a backdrop of international conflict and which have intensified in recent weeks.
“No hypothesis is ruled out or privileged”
“At this stage, no hypothesis is ruled out or privileged”, said Lyon prosecutor Nicolas Jacquet. A suspect “Which may correspond to the description given by the first witnesses was placed in police custody”, clarified a little later the magistrate.
The weapon probably used, a sawed-off shotgun, was not found on him. “The verifications are continuing on its possible implication”.
Intervention of the Prime Minister from Rouen
At 5:45 p.m., from Rouen, the Prime Minister made a brief statement, indicating that he could not give more details about the attack and its motivations. ” I will go to Paris immediately “Said Jean Castex, recalling that his trip to Rouen was also intended to ensure” the deployment of security forces around places of worship and schools two days before the start of the school year. “He insisted that the government was showing” whole determination “So that everyone can practice their worship” in full freedom and in full safety. It is the honor of France “.