8 people wounded in shooting near French mosque

Updated 2017-07-03 11:59:32 Xinhua

A shooting in front of a mosque in the southeastern French city of Avignon slightly wounded eight people on Sunday night, media reports said.

Local prosecutor's office has ruled out terrorism.

"From what we know this evening, the mosque was not targeted. The fact that it happened in the street of the religious establishment was unconnected with it," the prosecutor was quoted as saying.

The La Provence newspaper reported on Monday that local police suspected the shooting was due to a dispute between young people.

Criminal investigation has started into the case.

Out of the wounded including a girl, four were shot outside the mosque while a family of four in their apartment some 50 meters away were hit by shrapnel, it was reported.

The newspaper report also quoted witnesses as saying that the shooting began at around 10:30 p.m. (2030 GMT) on Sunday when one of two gunmen with their faces covered opened fire as worshippers were leaving the mosque.

The two gunmen then fled the scene. They were among four hooded men in a car, the witnesses said.

The shooting comes after a 43-year-old Armenian man who was later found to have suffered from schizophrenia tried on Thursday to drive a car into a crowd of worshippers outside a mosque in the Paris suburb of Creteil, causing no injury.

The Paris incident has prompted Muslim officials to call on the authorities to strengthen security measures to protect places of Muslim worship.

Elsewhere in Europe, on June 19, a van attack against worshippers outside a mosque in London left one dead and 11 others injured.

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