Eight people were wounded in a shooting in front of the Arrahma mosque at 22.30 (local time) in the city of Avignon, Provence. According to local reports, at least two hooded men pulled up in a car and a gunman, armed with a handgun and shotgun, opened fire. Four were wounded outside the mosque, while a family of four were wounded by shrapnel some 50m (164ft) away in their apartment.
None of the injured are thought to have life-threatening injuries. The prosecutor’s office has ruled out terrorism as a motive behind the incident, and the attack is believed to have been related to local dispute. The mosque does not appear to have been directly targeted.
The situation is reportedly contained and there is believed to be no further risk to the public. However, police are still searching for the suspects after they fled from the scene, and an increased security presence should be expected.
France has been under a state of emergency since the November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in the Paris region that killed 130 people. A series of incidents targeting French security forces have taken place in the country in recent months. On June 29, a man attempted to ram his car into worshippers outside of a mosque in the Paris suburb of Créteil; the driver, who suffered from schizophrenia, hit barriers and pillars outside of the mosque, without causing any injuries.
On June 19, a car rammed into a police van on the Avenue des Champs Elysées in Paris in what appeared to be a failed attack; the driver was killed in the incident, but no one else was injured. On June 6, a man armed with a hammer targeted a police officer in front of Notre Dame Cathedral; the officer was lightly wounded and the assailant was shot and killed. On April 20, a shooting targeting French police on the Avenue des Champs Elysées left one officer dead; the assailant was killed. In March, an armed man briefly took a French soldier hostage at Orly Airport before being shot dead.
All those present in Avignon are advised to monitor developments to the situation, to avoid the affected area while police operations and investigations are ongoing, and to adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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