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Hungry Special Forces Foil Hamburglars at French McDonald’s

Two men tried to rob a McDonald's in eastern France — only to be violently thwarted by 11 off-duty French special forces commandos who were having lunch there, authorities said.

The two men stormed into a McDonald's in Ecole-Valentin, near Besançon, about 9 p.m. Sunday, France Bleu radio and the French newspaper Connexion reported, quoting the local prosecutor, Edwige Roux-Morizot.

Not spotted by the robbers, however, were 11 men eating lunch who are members of Groupe d'intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale, or GIGN, the French armed forces' elite counterterrorism unit.

The GIGN is roughly equivalent to the U.S. Navy SEALs and Army Special Operations Forces.

Roux-Morizot said the commandos waited for the robbery to play out to avoid confusion among the 30 or so other customers and about 15 employees in the restaurant at the time, the news services reported.

They confronted the robbers outside and opened fire when the men refused an order to surrender, Roux-Morizot said.

One of the men was shot in the stomach, and the other was seriously injured falling down a flight of stairs during the pursuit, he said.

The second man was arrested with about 2,000 euros (about $2,270 U.S.) in his possession from the robbery, he said, according to Agence France-Presse.

The local newspaper L'Est Républicain quoted investigators as describing the suspects as men in their 20s from Montbéliard, in the Franche-Comté region. Prosecutors said they face charges of armed robbery and commission of violence.

McDonald's didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday, but it's probably safe to say the suspects were being McGrilled by authorities.

IMAGE: French GIGN forces
Forces of the elite Groupe d'intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale, or GIGN, in a promotional video from the French Interior Ministry. Interior Ministry of France