A day after deadly attack at a French satirical magazine in Paris, a mosque was attacked in Le Mans, west of the French capital. A policewoman has died and a city employee is critical after a man wearing a bullet-proof vest fired on them with an automatic rifle outside Paris, police said.
The gunman is still on the run, said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve – who rushed to the scene at Malakoff just south of Paris – contradicting information given earlier by a source close to the case, who said the suspect had been detained.
Meanwhile, an explosion was reported at a kebab shop near a mosque in eastern France. Officials say there were no casualties.
Today’s firing incident comes a day after 12 people were killed by three gunmen in a deadly attack on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, but no link has yet been established between the two shootings.
The masked, black-clad gunmen burst into the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine on Wednesday morning, killing some of France’s most outspoken journalists and two policemen, before jumping into a car and escaping.
The youngest of those gunmen surrendered earlier today at a police station. Seven people have been detained in the hunt for the other two accused, who are brothers. Authorities have warned that the two brothers are “armed and dangerous.”
Prime Minister Manuel Valls meanwhile told RTL radio that the two suspects were known to intelligence services and were “no doubt” being followed before Wednesday’s attack.
Three blank grenades were thrown at the mosque shortly after midnight in the city of Le Mans, west of Paris; shots were also fired in the direction of a Muslim prayer hall shortly after evening prayers in the Port-la-Nouvelle district near Narbonne in southern France.
An explosion at a kebab shop near a mosque in the eastern French town of Villefranche-sur-Saone on Thursday morning also left no casualties.
In the Thursday shooting, he said the officer had stopped to investigate a traffic accident when the firing started. Paris police said the second victim was a street sweeper.
“There was an officer in front of a white car and a man running away who shot,” said Ahmed Sassi, who saw the shooting from his home nearby.
France is on its highest level of alert after the deadly attacks at Charlie Hebdo’s central Paris offices.