Gunmen open fire on French police in Paris suburb

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Gunmen opened fire on French police officers escorting detainees from a hospital in a Paris suburb early Sunday, the interior minister and police officials said.

PARIS - Gunmen opened fire on French police officers escorting detainees from a hospital in a Paris suburb early Sunday, the interior minister and police officials said.

No one was injured in the exchange of fire, but Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie stressed that a military weapon was used in the attack and that "the outcome could have been much worse."

The police were escorting prisoners from a hospital where they had undergone a routine medical checkup around 3:00 am (0100 GMT) Sunday in the rundown area of La Courneuve, north of Paris when the gunmen opened fire.

Police union official Thierry Maze said the police officers "were ambushed by individuals armed with military weapons, because they had just arrested a gang leader."

An unnamed police official said the attackers blocked the police vehicle with their car and opened fire with a "heavy-calibre weapon, probably a Kalashnikov."

The Paris suburbs have seen a spate of clashes with police, but gun violence involving the use of military weapons is rare.

At least one detainee managed to flee during the exchange of fire but was later caught, police sources said.

Following the attack, the UNSA-police union urged French authorities to take action to defuse tension in the high-immigrant suburbs, saying a "catastrophe was averted, but what about next time?".

AFP / Expatica

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