A former election candidate for Marine Le Pen’s far-Right National Rally has been arrested for allegedly shooting and injuring two Muslim worshippers at a mosque in Bayonne, south-western France on Monday.
The 84-year-old suspect, named locally as Claude Sinké, is also accused of trying to burn down the mosque. He was arrested at his home in Saint-Martin-de-Seignanx, near Bayonne after fleeing the scene by car.
He reportedly set a vehicle on fire before he left. Police found a gas canister and a handgun in his car.
Patrice Peyruqueou, a police union official in Bayonne, said: “The suspect threw an incendiary device at the mosque and then drove away. He was apparently trying to set fire to the mosque when two worshippers intervened and he shot them.”
One of the worshippers was hit in the chest.
The two wounded men, aged 78 and 74, were taken to hospital. They were described as being in serious but stable condition.
The suspect reportedly admitted the shootings when questioned by Bayonne police, but the motive for the attack was unclear. He was said to have no police record and was not on the radar of French intelligence agencies.
Another attack on a place of worship, we NEED to ensure our sacred buildings and its worshippers are protected. It is the duty of the management to take the right steps to safeguard the building from potential attacks. #mosquesecurity
— Mosque Security (@MosqueSecurity) October 28, 2019