Mosques throughout France were targeted in at least three separate attacks Wednesday night and early Thursday, officials said, although there were no immediate reports of injuries. A surge in violence follows Wednesday's massacre at the Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had published controversial cartoons depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.
The latest reported explosion erupted early Thursday near a mosque in the eastern French town of Villefranche-sur-Saône, about 250 miles from the French capital. The blast occurred at around 6 a.m. local time (midnight ET) and destroyed the glass front of a cafe attached to the building, Lyon-based newspaper Le Progres reported. Reuters quoted a police source confirming the explosion, and said the cafe was a kebab shop. "I'm worried that this is tied to the dramatic events of Wednesday," Mayor Bernard Perrut told the newspaper.
Another mosque in Le Mans, about 130 miles southwest of Paris, was attacked just after midnight, according to the Le Maine Libre newspaper. Investigators said they found an exploded grenade inside the mosque and two other grenades intact.
On Wednesday night, a mosque in Port-la-Nouvelle, in southern France on the border of Spain, reported shots fired at a prayer room from the outside, according to the newspaper Midi Libre. The shots occurred one hour after the end of prayers. Local prosecutor Narbonne Davis Charmatz told the newspaper "an individual fired twice at the door breaking the window with a light-caliber weapon."
France's Ministry of Interior wouldn't confirm or comment on any of the reported mosque attacks, saying local police were handling the cases.
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— Alexander Smith and Nancy Ing
Reuters contributed to this report.