Shooting Near French Mosque Leaves Two Wounded

PARIS (AP) — An unidentified gunman shot and wounded an imam and one other person Thursday in front of a mosque in the western French city of Brest, then killed himself, police said.

The motive for the attack is unclear. France’s interior minister ordered security tightened at places of worship around the country.

The shooter fired at two people then fled the scene in a car, according to a national police spokesman. The shooting took place in front of the Mosquée Sunna de Brest, on France’s Atlantic Coast.

Police launched a manhunt, but soon found the attacker’s Renault Clio car in a nearby neighborhood — and nearby lay the attacker, who had shot himself in the head, the spokesman said. The manhunt was called off, as police do not suspect the attacker had accomplices.

Several shots were fired on June 27 in front of the Brest mosque, injuring two people including Imam Rachid El Jay, according to the French Council of Muslim Faith (CFCM) and other sources. 

The two wounded people were hospitalized but “are doing OK,” the police spokesman said. He was not authorized to be publicly named.

One of them was prominent imam Rachid Eljay, the police spokesman said. Authorities released no details about the identities of the suspect or the other victim.

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said it is evaluating the situation and whether there is a reason to suspect terrorist motives.

Pharmacist Thierry Ropars, working near the site of the attack, said he heard six or seven shots.

“We saw two men wounded in the legs lying on the ground. We tried to administer first aid and managed to limit the bleeding,” he told local newspaper Le Telegramme de Brest.