An 84-year-old former candidate for France’s far-right party shot and seriously wounded two men in their 70s who saw him trying to burn a mosque in South-West France. The government has expressed solidarity with the Muslim Community.
The octogenarian opened fire when the two men, aged 74 and 78, came upon him trying to set fire to the mosque’s door, the police department said in a statement.
The victims were brought to a nearby hospital with serious injuries, while the suspected shooter was later arrested near his home.
Police identified the man as Claude Sinke, and said he had admitted to being the shooter.
Sinke stood as a candidate for Marine’ Le Pen’s National Front in 2015 regional elections, according to the official list.
President Emmanuel Macron “firmly condemned” what he described as a “heinous” attack.
“The Republic will never tolerate hatred,” the President tweeted.
“Everything will be done to punish the perpetrators and protect our Muslim compatriots. I commit myself to it.”
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner offered his “solidarity and support to the Muslim community” after the incident.
In a tweet, Castaner said the events “pain every one of us” and said he shared the “shock and horror” Muslims must be feeling.