An 84-year-old man shot and seriously wounded two other guys in their 70s when they shocked him attempting to burn a mosque in Bayonne in southwest France, police mentioned.
The octogenarian opened fire when the two guys, aged 74 and 78, came upon him attempting to set fire to the mosque’s door on Monday afternoon, the police division mentioned in a statement.
The victims had been brought to a nearby hospital with significant injuries, when the suspected shooter was later arrested close to his household.
The mosque has been cordoned off for investigations.
The incident came just hours just after President Emmanuel Macron had urged France’s Muslim neighborhood to step up the fight against “separatism” in the wake of the newest attack by an Islamist radical on French soil, in which a police employee stabbed 4 colleagues to death.
There have been intermittent attacks on mosques in France because 2007, when 148 Muslim headstones in a national military cemetery close to Arras had been smeared with anti-Islamic slurs and a pig’s head was placed amongst them.
In June this year, a gunman wounded an imam in a shooting at a mosque in the northwestern city of Brest, but police ruled out a terror motive.
In March, workers developing a mosque in the little southwestern town of Bergerac identified a pig’s head and animal blood at the entrance to the web page — two weeks just after a gunman killed 50 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, in a shooting spree at two mosques.
Mosques had been also targeted just after the killing of 12 men and women at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in 2015 by Islamist radicals. Dozens of mosques had been attacked by arsonists, other individuals with firebombs, grenades or gunfire.