France: Police ambushed

This was apparently more than a "mere" attack on police, but rather: a planned ambush.

A police officer was hospitalized Saturday following an overnight attack by youths wielding makeshift weapons in the troubled Parisian suburb of Epinay-Sur-Seine, officials for a police union said.

The officer, who was hit in the face by a rock, required some 30 stitches and suffered several broken teeth during the Friday night attack, said Joaquin Masanet, head of the UNSA-Police union.

Masanet said the officer was injured when he and two colleagues responded to a call denouncing the robbery of objects from cars. When the officers pulled up at the address given by the caller, some 50 hooded youths wielding baseball bats, iron rods and stones attacked the police car.

A rock smashed through the windshield, hitting the 30-year-old officer in the face.

They were caught in a real ambush," said Masanet, who added the confrontation lasted between 15 and 20 minutes.

The officers responded by firing "flash balls," guns that use rubber pellets, he said.

Nathalie Orioli, a regional representative for the SGP-FO police union, said the youths fled before police reinforcement arrived on the scene.

"The violence has gone up a notch," Orioli said. "Once again, these people have intended to kill a police officer."

Earlier this month, six officers were slightly injured in a clash between police and youths that broke out after officers tried to stop a driver for not wearing a seat belt.

In September, a band of up to 30 youths armed with makeshift weapons attacked two riot police patrolling a housing project south of Paris. One of the officers suffered a double skull fracture.

French authorities have kept a watchful eye on low-income housing projects in suburbs nationwide after riots by youths erupted in October 2005 and, during three weeks of fiery violence, spread to housing projects around France.

Source: IHT (English)

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