PARIS — Three men have been shot dead in a car in the southern French city of Marseille, which has seen a recent surge in drug violence.
Five people were in the vehicle and had just left a nightclub when they were fired upon with Kalashnikovs, police say. Two of those targeted fled the scene, as did the unknown assailants.
Police linked the incident to the drug trade. It brings to 21 the number of drug-related killings in Marseille so far this year, the AFP news agency says.
The latest shooting happened in a residential area of France’s second-largest city. The car carrying the five men — all in their 20s — was fired upon shortly after they left the nightclub around 05:00 (03:00 GMT).
Investigators told French media that the five were known to police and lived in a housing estate where drug crime is rife.
They said that a car found ablaze near the scene also points to drug violence, as criminals often burn their vehicles to destroy evidence.
Regional prefect Frederique Camilleri told reporters at the scene that “the entire police force has been mobilized to find the perpetrators of these despicable crimes and to dismantle the networks of the traffickers behind this violence”.
She added that over the weekend, officers had seized weapons, including three Kalashnikov assault rifles, and arrested five people on firearms charges linked to the drugs trade.
Last month Camilleri and local prosecutor Dominique Laurens said that turf wars over Marseille’s lucrative drug-dealing spots were turning into a “vendetta”. BBC