Kalashnikov murders in Paris pavement cafe

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Assassins armed with Kalashnikovs gunned down two men and wounded a third in a rare gangland attack in a Paris pavement cafe, police and witnesses said.

As crowds enjoyed a warm spring evening on Thursday drinking in one of the French capital's iconic streetside bars, two men came in and sprayed their targets with bursts of assault rifle fire.

Two of the men died on the spot and the third is in a critical condition. Police said they were treating the attack as gangland score-settling.

Following the attack, witnessed by more than 15 people, the killers calmly returned to their powerful Audi car and drove off. Police later found the car and a motorbike burnt out and abandoned, investigators said.

"We were sat beside these three young guys. They were around 20 years old," said Pascale Huguet, a cafe patron in her fifties who was at the next table with a friend.

"Suddenly, I saw a burst of fire. My friend said she'd seen two or three masked men come in. Then I saw these lads on the ground, covered in blood."

Another witness, who did not give his name, said he was a cousin of the victims and said that they lived near the bar, which is on Rue Alesia in the 14th arrondissement (district) in the south of Paris.

He said the family were members of the travelling community.

© 2011 AFP

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