Teenager shot 23 times in latest Marseille killing

Teenager shot 23 times in latest Marseille killing
A French police officer patrols during operations at an apartment block in Air Bel, Marseille, on March 15th. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP
A teenager was shot 23 times in the latest fatal shooting in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille, police reported on Friday. The 17-year-old was killed as he drove his car in the north of the city.

A 17-year-old has been riddled with bullets in the latest deadly shooting linked with rampant gang violence in France's southern port city of Marseille, police said.

The 17-year-old, identified only by his first name Iskander, was shot over 20 times with a nine-millimetre automatic pistol while driving his car in the city's rough northern districts on Thursday night.

Police said two men drove up to the victim's vehicle on a motorcycle and one of them opened fire, hitting the victim in the chest and head.

Authorities said the victim was known to police for minor drug crimes and driving misdemeanors.

It was the sixth gang-related killing since the start of the year in Marseille, which has been plagued in recent years by a wave of shootings, often with Kalashnikov assault rifles, connected with the drug trade.

The violence has reached such levels that a local official last year called for the military to be sent in and the government formed a task force to tackle the crime wave.

Marseille's police chief Jean Paul-Bonnetain said the violence could be linked to efforts made by authorities in seizing drugs, which has a knock on effect of creating debts for the dealers.

"These large drug seizures may lead some to commit in robbery to repay their debt," Bonnetain told Europe1.

After a similar shooting earlier this year the mayor of Marseille Jean-Claude Gaudin blasted France’s Socialist government on Monday for concentrating their attention and resources on Paris and failing to do enough to protect residents.

Gaudin, senator from the centre-right UMP party, and mayor of France’s second-largest city, rounded on the Socialist government of President François Hollande for setting aside €30 billion for a transport and development project in and around the French capital.

“It’s scandalous to announce €30 billion for the Grand Paris scheme, and give nothing to Marseille,” Gaudin said in an interview with Le Figaro.

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