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PARIS — Several men fired shots in the air on Monday in a poor suburb of Marseille while the French prime minister, Manuel Valls, was in the city to defend the government’s local security plan, police officials said. No one was wounded.
The gunmen are believed to be members of a gang who may have fired their weapons “to take revenge” on a rival group, said David-Olivier Reverdy, the spokesman for a police union in Marseille. “They didn’t target police officials,” he said, despite earlier reports that masked men had fired on officers.
The episode occurred in La Castellane, a housing project that has been blighted by drug crime and gang violence.
On Monday morning, several witnesses heard gunshots and called the police. The appearance of police officers prompted the gunmen to fire into the air again, Mr. Reverdy said.
The violence set off alarms in Marseille almost a month after three gunmen killed 17 people in one of France’s deadliest terrorist attacks.
Mr. Valls was in Marseille to detail the government’s security strategy for the city, which has experienced waves of gang crime. He was also expected to visit a former World War II prison and transit compound from which Jews were deported to concentration camps, and to meet with police officials.
Separately, Moussa Coulibaly, the man who attacked soldiers in the southern French city of Nice last week, was formally charged on Saturday with “attempted assassination” in relation to a “terrorist enterprise.” He has been detained indefinitely.