Kalashnikov rifles were used on Monday by two gunmen to open fire at a police in Marseille. French officials had to shut down an estate after the hooded gunmen began firing at a police car outside.
Since the ISIS inspired attacks in Paris were the cause of violence last month, the country has been on high alert. An attacker wounded two Jewish soldiers with a knife in Nice a few weeks ago. The two soldiers were stationed outside a French news publication.
The incident with the gunmen who open fired on police in Marseille happened right when prime minister Manuel Valls had arrived in the city to present on lowering crime rates. No victims of the attack have been recorded yet.
More officers arrived at the estate following the incident. The gated housing community was set on lockdown with around 7,000 people stuck in their homes. It was police chief, Pierre-Marie Bournique’s car that was targeted. He was called to the estate after local residents called in saying they saw men with guns. When he arrived, the attackers with Kalashnikov rifles shot at him.
The attack was presumably drug related. The authorities were able to attain the guns as well as 20 kilo of illegal drugs. Bournique is worried that all police officers in France are now at risk, voicing his concerns that a uniform immediately makes them a target. Other authorities are sure that Vall being in the city that day was merely chance and the attack was based purely on drug settling.
La Castellane, where the police were attacked, is a crime ridden area where drugs, prostitution, and violence are a part of every day life. A large majority of France’s suburban areas have large Arab populations and as a result, have been held under a careful eye after the recent Charlie Hebdo attacks. Journalists also noted that during the “Je suis Charlie” support rallies there was an extremely low turnout in Marsaille.
The police were recorded to have fired back at the hooded gunmen, however again no casualties have been documented. The gunmen who open fired on police in Marseille on Monday have not yet been identified. Although there were only two gunmen who actually were seen and fired at the police, eye witnesses say there were up to ten people shooting guns in the air before the police arrived.
Local politicians are calling these recent attacks, leaving over 20 dead between the two, as tactics in siege. The murder rates in the city were already high but with recent deadly attacks, fear has reestablished itself within civilians.
Police officials say that they have helicopters in the air to reduce the risks of having men on the ground vulnerable in their environment. They are currently searching for the suspects. SWAT teams are also surrounding the housing estate throughout the day and night. The country is also reinforcing border patrols and checkpoint hotlines in order to ramp up security to ultimately get rid of extremism. The gunmen who open fired at local police in Marseille are suspected to already be out of the country, but if they are not police enforcement are sure they will find and prosecute them.
By Audrey Madden
Photo by – Serge ilk – Creative Commons License