A month after the terrorist attacks in France, reports are flying in about a fresh attack in the French city of Marseille. According to Sky News, at least 10 hooded gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs opened fired at a police vehicle on patrol duty. The attack happened on the day Marseille was set to welcome the country’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls for a visit. At the time of filing this report, there is no confirmation that the attack in Marseille is a terrorist attack. There are no reports of any casualties so far – but that could change as we get a clearer picture of the events that unfolded there.
Initial reports say that the shootout could be a gang related incident and not a terrorist attack. The shootout happened in the a region known as La Castellane estate on Monday morning, reports The Independent. Police officials have asked 7,000 residents of the area to remain in their homes and not to venture outside as security forces continue to evaluate the situation. Meanwhile authorities have sealed off the area where the attack took place and have brought in French special forces to deal with the situation.
La Castellane Estate in Marseille is known to have a long standing issue with drug dealers, gang wars and violence. Ironically, the attack happened on the very day the French Prime Minister was due to pay a visit to Marseille to appreciate the results of a crime crackdown in the city. It is unclear if the attack was staged to symbolize the fact that gang lords and criminals still have a strong presence there.
Meanwhile, a local politician from Marseille, Samia Ghali has tweeted out that the area under attack is “in a state of siege” and that the residents there are experiencing their worst nightmare. Twitter also abounds with reports of the attack in Marseille.
— Daily Star (@Daily_Star) February 9, 2015
— Sky News (@SkyNews) February 9, 2015
We have embedded tweets below that talk about the Marseille attacks in real time.
The attack in Marseille comes as France remains on high-alert following the Charlie-Hebdo attacks and the subsequent hostage crisis.