Monday 16 October 2017

Gunmen exchange fire in French city

Police officers in Marseille, France, after gunmen fired automatic weapons (AP)
Police officers in Marseille, France, after gunmen fired automatic weapons (AP)

Gunmen have exchanged fire in a Marseille housing project, prompting police to close off the area in a search for the shooters on the same day that France's prime minister planned to visit the city.

The shooting took place in the Castellane housing project, an area north of the city's old port that is rife with drug violence and gangs.

There were conflicting reports about whether officers had also been targeted by automatic gunfire.

David Olivier Reverdy, a police union official, said no officers were specifically targeted and no one was wounded.

But Samia Ghali, a senator from the region, said that she spoke with the police director and was told that the gunmen were targeting police and also firing at random.

French prime minister Manuel Valls was due in Marseille, France's second-largest city, to talk about security and education.

Mr Reverdy said it was not clear whether there was a link between the shooting on what he described as a "drug corner" and Mr Valls' visit.

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