At least three people died and another eight were injured after a flare up in gang violence in the crime-plagued French port of Marseille overnight on Sunday-Monday, police said.
Three separate shooting incidents have increased fears that tit-for-tat violence between rival drugs gangs is spiralling higher after a spate of fatal shootings over the last month.
All three fatalities overnight were young men in their 20s who suffered gunshot wounds, two of them in the high-rise housing area known as Le Castellas in the notorious northern suburbs.
A third man died just north of the historic centre of the city in the La Joliette district, while two others with him are fighting for their lives in intensive care, local police and the fire brigade said.
Last year, 32 people were shot dead in gang violence in France’s second-biggest city, a record high, according to the Marseille prosecutor’s office.
So far this year 13 have died, including the latest victims, according to a toll from AFP.
While the Marseille is renowned for its spectacular Mediterranean setting, its densely populated northern districts are some of the most deprived urban areas in France and serve as the hub for the narcotics trade.
French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a 1.5-billion-euro ($1.6-billion) plan to help Marseille tackle crime and deprivation in September 2021, calling such efforts a “duty of the nation”.
During a three-day visit to the city, Macron called drug networks “parasites” and promised that traffickers would now be “harassed” by the authorities.