Tre franske soldater ble beskutt av en mann på scooter mens de holdt på å ta ut penger av en bankautomat i Frankrike torsdag.

To ble drept og en tredje svever mellom liv og død. Det er andre alvorlige skyteepisode på en uke.

Three members of a parachute regiment were shot in a busy French town centre on Thursday afternoon. Two died instantly, while the third was reported to be in a critical condition in hospital.

The shootings followed a similar murder last weekend, when the officer of another parachute regiment was gunned down in almost exactly the same circumstances.

The soldiers, all in their 20s and in uniform, were standing by a cash machine in Montauban, south-west France.

Investigators said it was unclear whether the men were withdrawing money, or had left a nearby shop or restaurant and were passing the bank when they came under a hail of fire.

Witnesses heard several bursts of gunshots before the killer, riding what was described as a scooter and wearing a full-face helmet, escaped.

Police who sealed off the centre of Montauban, in the Tarn-et-Garonne region, found more than a dozen bullet shells at the scene.

The men, aged 28, 26 and 24, were from the 17th Parachute Regiment, which has been deployed in Afghanistan, Lebanon and former Yugoslavia and is based at a barracks just yards from the scene.

Three soldiers shot in France