Eight people including a girl were lightly wounded late Sunday in a shooting in front of a mosque in the south-east French city of Avignon, the prosecutor’s office said, ruling out terrorism.
According to initial accounts taken on the spot, at least two men got out of a car around 10:30 pm near the mosque and opened fire, including with a shotgun, the prosecutor’s office said. So far none of the wounded had life-threatening injuries.
The shooting comes a few days after a man on Thursday attempted to drive his car into worshippers outside the Creteil mosque in south-east Paris.
The driver, a 43-year-old Armenian who suffered from schizophrenia, hit barriers and pillars outside the mosque with his 4×4 without causing any injuries before crashing into a traffic island.
According to a source close to the investigation, the suspect had made “confused remarks in relation” to a string of militant attacks that have struck France, killing 239 people since 2015.
Following a van attack against worshippers leaving Finsbury Park Mosque in London on June 19 which left one dead and 11 injured, France’s Muslim community has also felt threatened.
Some Muslim officials have described the Paris incident as an attack and called on the authorities to “strengthen protection of places of worship”.
The Paris police commissioner reiterated his orders for vigilance in protecting Muslim places of worship. And the authorities have also said that the attack was not on the Mosque itself, despite the fact that all the victims were Muslim.
At a time when far-right vigilante attacks are on the rise throughout Europe; with acid attacks on Muslims in London, A real threat to Muslims within Europe is on the rise. We can see how why the authorities would want to play down the attack to ensure other revenge and Islamaphobic attacks are not carried out by ‘copycat’ attackers. The criminal investigation department has taken charge of the case.