84-year-old Claude Sinké was arrested by France security on Monday after he allegedly shot and injured two Muslim worshippers at a mosque in Bayonne, south-western France.
The suspect according to report was trying to burn down the mosque during the time he inflicted the harms on the victims.
Sinké was a former election candidate for Marine Le Pen’s far-Right National Rally. 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.
ALSO READ: 15 dead, 2 injured in Burkina Faso mosque attack
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, according to Telegraph UK report.
Christophe Castaner, the France interior minister, expressed indignation in a tweet: “My first thoughts go to the injured and their families. Solidarity and support to the Muslim community. I realise to what extent they are shocked and frightened.”
Ms Le Pen strongly condemned the attack, which said was “contrary to all the values upheld by our movement.”
The suspect was reportedly an unsuccessful candidate for her party in regional elections in 2015. He attended a military academy in his youth.
A source close to the investigation said: “There was widespread panic at the mosque. There were a lot of people inside at the time.”
The incident follows an increase in attempts to vandalise mosques in France, Telegraph UK reported.
Many Muslims have been killed in Islamist attacks, such as the 2015 Paris atrocities in which 130 people died. Dozens of people were killed in an attack on two mosques in New Zealand in March.
Local prosecutors said he was likely to be charged with attempted murder. Emmanuel Macron, the French president, condemned the “odious attack” and pledged “to protect our Muslim compatriots”. France, he said, “will never tolerate hate.”
Existential dread washed over the face of the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, as he sat next to the American president during their joint press conference on the sidelines of the UN. Donald Trump, as the face of Ukraines most powerful ally in its struggle against Russian aggression, was telling him: I really hope you and President Putin get together and can solve your problem.
Having lost more than 13,000 people in an ongoing conflict with its belligerent neighbor, Ukraine was now being told to make a deal with the aggressor, becauseaccording to President TrumpPresident Putin would like to do something.
During the same conference, Zelensky pleaded with Trump for help with returning the territories occupied and annexed by Russia, and, egged on by Trumpand contrary to the factscomplained that Europe wasnt doing as much as the United States to help Ukraine. In reality, European institutions spent nearly double the amount supplied by the United States: $425.2 million in 2016-2017, as compared to $204.4 million spent by the U.S.
While that disclosure infuriated Ukraines European allies, Trump in the now infamous July 25 phone call with Zelensky blamed Ukraines troubles on the Obama administration, dismissively concluding its just one of those things and directing Zelensky to ask for more help from Europe. Since the calls release, Ukrainians have nicknamed their president Monica Zelensky, as a jab referring to his part in the ongoing impeachment proceedings against Trump.
Backed into the corner and seeming to stand alone there, Zelensky made a step toward a deal with Putin by officially signing up Ukraine to the Steinmeier Formula. The agreement provides the pathway to a summit that would bring Zelensky face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Russia demanded written codification of the Steinmeier Formula by Ukraine as a key precondition to the next Normandy summit. It interprets the clauses of the Minsk accords (agreements between the Ukrainian authorities and Russia-backed separatists) in line with Russias preferences andtherefore enjoys the Kremlins seal of approval.
We know what happened in the United States. You have nowhere left to go.
Russian TV Host Olga Skabeeva addressing Ukraine
The formula further calls for elections to be conducted under the supervision of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in the territories held by Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. It was signed on Oct. 1 by representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the separatist pseudo-republics of Luhansk and Donetsk (LPR and DPR), and the OSCE in Minsk.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the signing of the Steinmeier Formula agreement as a positive development. Senator Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Federation Councils foreign affairs committee, who is under U.S. sanctions for worldwide malign activity, said the signing represents without a doubt, a victory for common sense and an overall success. In stark contrast to Russias jubilation, hundreds of Ukrainians in Kyiv have protested, demanding no capitulation to the Kremlin and its proxies.
The most controversial aspect of the Steinmeier Formula is that it provides for local elections to take place in the occupied parts of Ukraine before Kyiv has control of the border and prior to the withdrawal of the Russian-backed forces.
This condition doesnt seem to match up with Zelenskys understanding of the agreement. After signing on to the Steinmeier Formula, the Ukrainian president declared during a news conference that the elections would not be held under the barrel of a gun and would take place only when no troops remain in the separatist-held areas.
What Ukraine was so afraid of has happened Zelensky doesnt understand what he signed, concluded Vladimir Soloviev, the host of the nightly The Evening With Vladimir Soloviev on Russian state television.
The heads of Russia-backed separatist pseudo-republics in eastern Ukraine openly proclaimed in a public statement that the Kyiv authorities wont get any control over the border and vowed that LPR and DPR will make decisions about integration with Russia of their own accord. Forget about controlling the border, once and for all, exclaimed political scientist Sergey Kurginyan, appearing on The Evening.
During a panel discussion at the Russian Energy Week forum, Putin said that Zelensky will have to decide how the relations between Ukraine and Donbas will develop, pointedly referring to Ukraines own region as a separate geopolitical entity. Putin opined that Ukraine did much better when it was a part of the Soviet Union, along with Russia.
Appearing on Russias state television program 60 Minutes, Oleg Nilov, member of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, asserted that Ukraine was forced to sign the Steinmeier Formulaand proceeded to threaten the country with the Israeli formula of taking all the land Russia wants, if Kyiv reneges on the deal.
Come back to the Soviet Union, urged Karen Shakhnazarov, CEO of Mosfilm Studio, appearing on The Evening. The talk-show host Soloviev concurred and reminded the guests that the USSR was originally formed by a treaty that united the Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian and Transcaucasian republics.
Trump let Zelensky down. Three times he told him: Go meet with Putin, said Olga Skabeeva, the host of 60 Minutes. During the same program, Nikolai Platoshkin, head of the International Relations Department at Moscow University for the Humanities, predicted that once all the formulas have been exhausted, LPR and DPR will ultimately become a part of the Russian Federation. Skabeeva concurred: The sooner the better.
She surmised: After his triumphant meeting with the American president, Zelensky had no choice but to lie back and enjoy it We know what happened in the United States. You have nowhere left to go.