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Two injured in attack on French mosque by former National Front candidate

Two people were injured in the incident at the mosque in Bayonne [Getty-file photo]

Date of publication: 28 October, 2019

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A gunman has shot and wounded two Muslim worshippers after attempting to set fire to a mosque in the southwestern French city of Bayonne.

Two people were injured Monday when shots were fired near a mosque in Bayonne in southwest France, police said, adding that the suspected gunman has been arrested.

The gunman was in his eighties and a former candidate for the far-right National Front in 2015 elections, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The incident happened at around 3pm local time and the man was arrested near his home after fleeing the scene.

Read more: Mum in French hijab row to sue politicians for racism

A small explosion also took place at the scene, presumably from a petrol can set on fire near the place of worship on Monday afternoon.

Local officials said that the gunman was trying to set fire to the door of the mosque when he shot the two men after they tried to stop him.

Both the men are in their seventies. One was shot in the chest and is in serious, although not critical, condition in hospital.

Patrice Peyroqueou, a police official, said that the suspect fled in his car after throwing an incendiary device into the mosque, before police apprehended him at his house. He is currently being questioned at the Bayonne police station.

In a previous incident in June, a gunman opened fire on a mosque in the city of Brest in northwestern France, wounding the imam and another person. He was found dead later on, apparently committing suicide.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, which has been renamed the National Rally, condemned the Bayonne attack, writing on Twitter.

"The attack on the Bayonne mosque is an unspeakable act that is absolutely contrary to all the values of our movement. These crimes must be treated with the utmost severity," she said.

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