Three people were wounded on Christmas day in the French city of Besançon following a shootout between drug gang members involving what local police described as military-grade weapons.
The incident occurred in the district of Planoise, known to be a particularly vulnerable area to criminality, with such areas often referred to as no-go zones. The shooting began at around 7:30 pm and saw two hooded men open fire on a group of other young men with what police described as Kalashnikov rifles, broadcaster RTL reports.
According to police, two men, aged 30 and 31, were seriously wounded in the shooting and another boy, aged 14, was also injured in what investigators described as a settling of accounts between rival drug-dealing gangs. Following the initial shooting, members of the group being attacked are also said to have returned fire.
Both of the victims who received serious gunshot wounds were taken to a local hospital where they received emergency surgery and are expected to survive the attack.
A police source close to the investigation told French media that settling of scores attacks are becoming more and more frequent in Planoise and that a hand grenade was even found under the car of another gang member targetted by rival drug dealers.
French Teen Tortured with Blowtorch to Genitals over Drug Dispute https://t.co/BzqIzjMUXp
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Military-grade weaponry is also becoming more commonly found in the possession of drug gangs in France as well, with several police raids over the past few years finding weapons from automatic rifles all the way up to anti-tank missiles.
Earlier this yea rin April, police in the commune of Vaulx-en-Velin near Lyon discovered a rocket launcher in the boot of a car belonging to two criminals already known to police.
Both murder and attempted murder have seen a dramatic rise in the last decade in France, with the total numbers up 79 per cent over the period.
“Violence is [spreading]. Law enforcement is no longer scary. Today, for nothing, for a look, it turns to fists. Pulling out a gun has become commonplace,” Frédéric Lagache of the police union Alliance Police Nationale said.