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Several hurt as gang storms video set of French rapper Booba

Tiphanie Le Liboux and Marie Giffard

Agence France-Presse

Paris  /  Thu, August 22, 2019  /  02:02 pm
Several hurt as gang storms video set of French rapper Booba

In this file photo taken on May 14, 2011 French rap singer Elie Yaffa aka Booba attends the Canal+ TV show 'Le Grand Journal' during the 64th Cannes Film Festival. (AFP/Guillaume Baptiste)

Gangs armed with guns and baseball bats stormed the set of a music video by controversial French rapper Booba, firing shots in a clash which left several people injured in the latest controversy to hit the star artist, a police source said Wednesday. 

The 42-year-old musician, who is one of France's biggest rap stars, has been locked in a high-profile feud with fellow rapper Kaaris which exploded into violence at a Paris airport last year, landing them both in jail for a month.

Around 15 people were involved in the attack which took place around midnight (2200 GMT) in the northeastern Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois, sources close to the inquiry said, confirming a report first published by Europe 1 radio. 

One of the injured people sustained a bullet wound to the thigh but her injuries were not thought to be life-threatening, the police source said, confirming an inquiry had been opened. 

Booba was not there at the time, but he later released a short clip to his 4.2 million followers on Instagram showing him standing in front of a TV screen reporting the attack, his eyes wide open in mock shock. 

The ambush took place at a disused warehouse where the video was being shot for a track called "Glaive" with the attackers reportedly pulling up to the site in cars and firing four shots towards Booba's crew as they put away equipment.

They then began attacking them with baseball bats and iron bars, with the video's producer sustaining serious head injuries and another technician also badly hurt, BFMTV said. 

Police found four 9mm shell casings and two cartridges at the scene, the channel reported.

Read also: 'I will drink your blood': French rappers take feud to ring

Cage fight? 

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack but it led to speculation it was linked to the ongoing feud between the two rappers which has made headlines in France and beyond. 

Their August 2018 brawl at Orly airport erupted as the men and their entourages were about to fly to Barcelona for a concert, prompting officials to temporarily shut down part of the terminal, delaying flights. 

A month in solitary and fines of 50,000 euros ($55,500) each did little to cool their animosity, however, with the two pledging to settle their differences through a two-million-euro cage fight in Switzerland in November. 

The pair had been drumming up expectations for the MMA fight in the Swiss city of Basel, goading each other relentlessly.

They chose Switzerland for their fight because the ultra-violent sport of MMA -- or mixed martial arts -- is banned in France.

The winner would have walked away with 1.5 million euros, while the loser would get just half a million. 

'Duke of Boulogne' 

But last week, Swiss authorities cancelled the fight, saying they had been misled about the nature of the event, ahead of which the pair had exchanged very public threats. 

Ivory Coast-born Kaaris, 39, had promised he would drink his rival's blood, to which Booba replied. "I will beat you to death, you son of a bitch."

News of their cage fight had set social media alight with mocking memes comparing the grudge match to the big money boxing faceoff in 2017 between legendary fighter Floyd Mayweather and Irish MMA star Conor McGregor. 

Booba, who lives in Miami, had previously fallen out with Kaaris after he failed to back him in a dispute with fellow French artist Rohff.

Also known as the "Duke of Boulogne" after the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt where he was born, Booba had for years also had a long-running standoff with Rohff which turned violent five years ago. 

In April 2014, a gang of men including Rohff attacked a sales assistant at a store in central Paris selling Unkut clothing, a brand owned by Booba. 

Rohff was charged with assault and given a five-year jail sentence after footage showed him hitting the young man, who suffered serious head injuries. He has appealed the sentence.