Gunmen open fire in tense Marseille same day as PM visits

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

23 PHOTOS
Marseille Projects Shooting France
See Gallery
Gunmen open fire in tense Marseille same day as PM visits
Police in Marseille patrol the grounds of a housing estate, where officials say hooded gunmen opened fire on a police car, using powerful Kalashnikov rifles. At first, police feared another extremist attack, but it's now believed the incident was related to a drug crime. France has been on high alert following Islamist attacks in Paris last month that killed 17 people.
Police officers move civillians out of the area during an operation at a housing estate in the French city of Marseille on February 9, 2015, where residents said 'Kalashnikov shots' were fired 'in the air'. According to an AFP photographer on site, special forces entered the La Castellane estate, which is known for being a drug trafficking hotspot. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
An armed police officer takes up a position during an operation at a housing estate in the French city of Marseille on February 9, 2015, where residents said 'Kalashnikov shots' were fired 'in the air'. According to an AFP photographer on site, special forces entered the La Castellane estate, which is known for being a drug trafficking hotspot. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers take up positions during an operation at a housing estate in the French city of Marseille on February 9, 2015, where residents said 'Kalashnikov shots' were fired 'in the air'. According to an AFP photographer on site, special forces entered the La Castellane estate, which is known for being a drug trafficking hotspot. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the French police special force GIPN arrive to take up positions during an operation at a housing estate in the French city of Marseille on February 9, 2015, where residents said 'Kalashnikov shots' were fired 'in the air'. According to an AFP photographer on site, special forces entered the La Castellane estate, which is known for being a drug trafficking hotspot. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
French police officers divert traffic away from the area during an operation at a housing estate in the French city of Marseille on February 9, 2015, where residents said 'Kalashnikov shots' were fired 'in the air'. According to an AFP photographer on site, special forces entered the La Castellane estate, which is known for being a drug trafficking hotspot. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the French police special force GIPN wait to take up positions during an operation at a housing estate in the French city of Marseille on February 9, 2015, where residents said 'Kalashnikov shots' were fired 'in the air'. According to an AFP photographer on site, special forces entered the La Castellane estate, which is known for being a drug trafficking hotspot. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
French police officers take up positions during an operation at a housing estate in the French city of Marseille on February 9, 2015, where residents said 'Kalashnikov shots' were fired 'in the air'. According to an AFP photographer on site, special forces entered the La Castellane estate, which is known for being a drug trafficking hotspot. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the French police special force GIPN take up positions during an operation at a housing estate in the French city of Marseille on February 9, 2015, where residents said 'Kalashnikov shots' were fired 'in the air'. According to an AFP photographer on site, special forces entered the La Castellane estate, which is known for being a drug trafficking hotspot. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the French police special force GIPN take up positions during an operation at a housing estate in the French city of Marseille on February 9, 2015, where residents said 'Kalashnikov shots' were fired 'in the air'. According to an AFP photographer on site, special forces entered the La Castellane estate, which is known for being a drug trafficking hotspot. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
French police officers take up positions during an operation at a housing estate in the French city of Marseille on February 9, 2015, where residents said 'Kalashnikov shots' were fired 'in the air'. According to an AFP photographer on site, special forces entered the La Castellane estate, which is known for being a drug trafficking hotspot. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the French police special force GIPN take up positions during an operation at a housing estate in the French city of Marseille on February 9, 2015, where residents said 'Kalashnikov shots' were fired 'in the air'. According to an AFP photographer on site, special forces entered the La Castellane estate, which is known for being a drug trafficking hotspot. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers block the entrance of the Castellane housing project of Marseille, southern France, Monday, Feb.9, 2015. Police say gunmen have fired automatic weapons at the edge of a housing project the same day as the prime minister planned to visit the city. The project is rife with drug gangs and violence. No injuries were immediately reported. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Police officers block the entrance of the Castellane housing project of Marseille, southern France, Monday, Feb.9, 2015. Police say gunmen have fired automatic weapons at the edge of a housing project the same day as the prime minister planned to visit the city. The project is rife with drug gangs and violence. No injuries were immediately reported. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Police officers block the entrance of the Castellane housing project of Marseille, southern France, Monday, Feb.9, 2015. Police say gunmen have fired automatic weapons at the edge of a housing project the same day as the prime minister planned to visit the city. The project is rife with drug gangs and violence. No injuries were immediately reported. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Police officers control the entrance of a preschool just outside the Castellane housing project of Marseille, southern France, Monday, Feb.9, 2015. Police say gunmen have fired automatic weapons at the edge of a housing project the same day as the prime minister planned to visit the city. The project is rife with drug gangs and violence. No injuries were immediately reported. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Police officers block the entrance of the Castellane housing project of Marseille, southern France, Monday, Feb.9, 2015. Police say gunmen have fired automatic weapons at the edge of a housing project the same day as the prime minister planned to visit the city. The project is rife with drug gangs and violence. No injuries were immediately reported. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
A police officer stands outside the Castellane housing project of Marseille, southern France, Monday, Feb.9, 2015. Police say gunmen have fired automatic weapons at the edge of a housing project the same day as the prime minister planned to visit the city. The project is rife with drug gangs and violence. No injuries were immediately reported. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Elite police officers block the entrance of the Castellane housing project of Marseille, southern France, Monday, Feb.9, 2015. Police say gunmen have fired automatic weapons at the edge of a housing project the same day as the prime minister planned to visit the city. The project is rife with drug gangs and violence. No injuries were immediately reported. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Police officers block the entrance of the Castellane housing project of Marseille, southern France, Monday, Feb.9, 2015. Police say gunmen have fired automatic weapons at the edge of a housing project the same day as the prime minister planned to visit the city. The project is rife with drug gangs and violence. No injuries were immediately reported. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Police officers block the entrance of the Castellane housing project of Marseille, southern France, Monday, Feb.9, 2015. Police say gunmen have fired automatic weapons at the edge of a housing project the same day as the prime minister planned to visit the city. The project is rife with drug gangs and violence. No injuries were immediately reported. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Police officers block the entrance of the Castellane housing project of Marseille, southern France, Monday, Feb.9, 2015. Police say gunmen have fired automatic weapons at the edge of a housing project the same day as the prime minister planned to visit the city. The project is rife with drug gangs and violence. No injuries were immediately reported. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

PARIS (AP) -- Gunmen exchanged fire in a Marseille housing project known as an open-air drug market on Monday, prompting police to close off the area in a search for the shooters the same day France's prime minister planned to visit the city.

No injuries were immediately reported in the shooting 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, told RTL radio no officers were specifically targeted and no one was wounded.

But Samia Ghali, a senator from the region, told iTele 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. Reverdy said it was not clear whether there was a link between the shooting on what he described as a "drug corner" and Valls' visit.

More in the news:
Boyfriend charged after freshman is found dead in Pa. dorm
Old questions about Saudi Arabia, 9-11 raised anew
Officials: Teen Accused in Boy's Death Took Selfie With Body

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners