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Police Rule Out Terrorism in Shooting Near Mosque in Avignon, France

PARIS — Eight people were wounded in a shooting in front of a mosque in the southern French city of Avignon in an incident that police said was a settling of scores rather than a militant attack.

Two of the wounded were hospitalized after the incident, according to Reuters.

French National Police said that worshippers leaving the mosque had not been the intended target, and that they are "not at all treating it as terrorist related."

Image: Police guard a street near the scene of the shooting in front of a mosque in Avignon, France.
Police guard a street near the scene of the shooting in front of a mosque in Avignon, France. Reuters TV

La Provence regional newspaper, which first reported the incident, cited witnesses as saying that one of two gunmen with their faces covered had fired shots around at 10:30 p.m. as people were coming out of the mosque before the two fled the scene.

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

The incident comes after a man was arrested 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's government is preparing to extend a state of emergency put in place after Islamic extremist attacks in 2015, citing continued threats.