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One dead, six wounded by gunman in southern France: official

TOULOUSE: One person was shot dead and six others injured – two of them seriously – when a gunman opened fire in the southern French city of Toulouse late Monday, a local source said.

Local press reported that a gunman on a scooter opened fire at around 9:00 PM (12:00 AM PST, Tuesday) near Abbal Square and the Robert-Cambert path in the La Reynerie district of Toulouse.

“No possibilities are ruled out, but there is at this stage no indication of any terrorist element” connected to the incident, the official added.

First reports indicate two individuals on a motorcycle approached a group of people just after 9 PM local time and fired several shots before speeding away, El País noted citing local newspaper La Dépêche du Midi.
The publication added that a witness had recorded a video, which is currently being reviewed by officials present at the scene alongside the Regional Service of Judicial Police (SRPJ) agents, regional network France 3 said. Authorities, however, are yet to confirm the existence of such a video clip.

The favoured theory is that the shooting was some revenge killing, a source close to the enquiry said.

La Dépêche du Midi also mentioned the assailants’ identity was difficult for witnesses to discern due to the attack taking place at night. However, some online media outlets suggest that the deceased was sought in a murder case last year.

Some bystanders stated that Kalashnikovs were used, although the information remains unconfirmed.

Local officials, meanwhile, said extra security had been deployed to the area.

The Reynerie district, which is marked as a priority security zone (ZSP), has long been notorious for drug trafficking. Nevertheless, it is too early to link it to the “underground economy”.

Prior to this, a similar incident took place in the wider Mirail complex in south-west Toulouse in 2016. Then, on July 5, 2016, a 19-year-old man was seriously wounded by a shotgun in Bellefontaine.

The gunfire attack comes mere hours after French President Emmanuel Macron promised to lift “this autumn” the state of emergency that has been in effect since the militant attacks in Paris in November 2015 that killed 130 people.

“I will re-establish the freedoms of the French people by lifting the state of emergency this autumn because these freedoms are the precondition of the existence of a strong democracy,” Macron said in an address to both houses of parliament.

The French leader last month set out a tough new anti-terrorism law designed to allow the lifting of the state of emergency, which has been extended five times.

The current provision expires in mid-July when Macron’s new centrist government is expected to extend it again until November 1 while the new law is prepared.

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