Eight wounded in shooting near French mosque, incident not terror-related

Eight people were wounded in an attack outside a mosque in Avignon, southern France, late Sunday. But sources say police suspect it was a settling of scores between youths, rather than a militant attack.

MARSEILLE (REUTERS, AFP) - Eight people were wounded in a shooting in front of a mosque in the southern French city of Avignon in an incident the prosecutor’s office said was not terror-related. 

According to initial accounts taken on the spot, at least two men got out of a car around 10:30 pm near the mosque and opened fire, including with a shotgun before the two fled the scene, the prosecutor’s office said. None of the wounded had life-threatening injuries, it said.

“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 said, ruling out terrorism.

Police consider the incident to be a settling of scores rather than a militant attack, a source close to the investigation said on Monday.

La Provence which first reported the incident, also cited a judicial source as saying police are "not at all treating it as terrorist related" and suspected instead a dispute between youths.

Four people were wounded outside the mosque while a family of four in their apartment some 50m away took shrapnel, La Provence said.

Two of the eight wounded were hospitalised after the incident, according to the source, who also said that worshippers leaving the mosque had not been the intended target.

The incident comes after a man was arrested on Thursday after trying to drive a car into a crowd in front of a mosque in the Paris suburb of Creteil in an incident in which no one was injured. France is on high security alert following a series of militant attacks in recent years.