Two young women were arrested in the French department of Morbihan in Brittany after a wave of vandalism on a number of churches in the area and for trying to set one of them on fire.
The attacks on churches went on for several days before the arrest of two girls who are believed to have set several fires within a church in the town of Auray, Le Telegramme reports.
The church escaped being totally set ablaze thanks to a parishioner from nearby Guerande who entered the church on Sunday and found several small fires.
“I was going into the church to pray, I used to come here when I went to Auray, but when I pushed open the door, I saw a thick smoke and two young people coming out running. I immediately called the firefighters,” the woman said.
At around 3pm, the firefighters arrived and found ten separate points used to start fires which included papers, curtains, and other material. A tapestry was also damaged in the fires but according to parish priest Gaétan Lucas, it was only a copy of the real tapestry which is on exhibition elsewhere.
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“I am sad, of course, but especially for those who vandalise the religious heritage in this way, it is a nameless stupidity, I have seen that some churches in the Morbihan had been hit in recent days by theft and acts of vandalism. I did not imagine it would be for us this time,” Father Lucas said.
According to the Gendarmerie, the two girls arrested in connection with the arson were already known to police.
The most high-profile attack on a church in France came in 2016 when a pair of Islamic radical jihadists attacked and killed priest Jacques Hamel while he was giving mass. The year before, French authorities foiled a similar plot by an Algerian migrant who was planning to attack churches in Paris with military-grade weapons.
Last year, Breitbart London reported that attacks on Christians had risen sharply over the last decade, up 245 per cent since 2008.