Two gunmen opened fire outside a mosque in Avignon, France, injuring several people including a 7-year-old girl. Police say the incident was not related to terrorism, but appears to be “a quarrel between young people.”
People were leaving a late-night service at the mosque when gunfire erupted in the street. The perpetrators fled quickly, and police say they targeted a group of young people in the street. They hit four people outside the mosque. Also among the injured was a family of four in a nearby apartment, who were hit by shrapnel. The 7-year-old girl was one of those in the apartment.
Outside the mosque, chaos erupted when the suspects opened fire using both a handgun and a shotgun. Two of the injured had to be hospitalized and their condition remains unknown. Despite the incident taking place outside of a mosque, police say the incident was not a targeted hate crime against Muslims. Instead, this was an incident between young people, and was possibly gang-related. Therefore the incident is not being treated as a terrorist attack, either.
But the shooting highlights increased tensions and violence in France, which has been on high alert following a series of terrorist attacks over that last few years. The enormous amount of blood and death from terrorist attacks in France resulted in the most amount of bloodshed on French soil since WWII, and it is the result from terrorism.
Last Thursday, the tables were turned when a man drove a van into a crowd of Muslims as they left a mosque. His vehicle was stopped by pillars protecting the mosque and arrested, but the incident was fresh on everyone’s mind when news broke of the Avignon attack. However, the Avignon attack seems to be isolated within its community.
Guns are illegal in France, giving another interesting angle to the story. Guns are still trafficked illegally throughout Europe. The incident also brings attention to the increased amount of violence in France. Paris has several “no-go” zones where women and other vulnerable people are advised not to travel, due to the increased crime in these areas. Although Avignon is not one such area, criminals shooting each other who remain at large contribute to the problem of violence in France.
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