A shooting by masked gunmen near a mosque in southern France late Sunday had nothing to do with terrorism, according to French police.
Eight people were slightly wounded in the attack outside the Arrahma Mosque in the district of Grange-d’Orel in the city of Avignon, French newspaper La Provence reported.
— La Provence (@laprovence) July 2, 2017
“The mosque was not targeted; the actions took place in the same street as the religious establishment but without connection with the latter,” the French news agency AFP reported the public prosecutor’s office as saying.
An eyewitness told France Bleu radio that a man in his forties was targeted after leaving the mosque, on his way to have a cup of coffee at a nearby snack bar round 10:30 p.m. He said there were more than two attackers.
The shooting comes after a man tried to ram an SUV into protective barriers outside a mosque in the French suburb of Creteil last Thursday.
In an attempt to reassure the community, local politician Amine El Khatmi, a member of the French socialist party’s national committee and a prominent voice advocating for a secular Islam in France, tweeted: “No attack in Avignon. A settling of scores near a place of worship, in a tough neighborhood. The facts, nothing but the facts.”
Pas d'attentat à Avignon. Un règlement de comptes à proximité d'un lieu de culte, dans un quartier difficile. Les faits, rien que les faits.
— Amine El-Khatmi (@Amk84000) July 3, 2017