Police in the southern French city of Marseille say gunmen have fired automatic weapons at the edge of a housing project the same day as a planned visit by the prime minister. No injuries were immediately reported.

The police official, who could not be named because she was not authorized to speak publicly about Monday's shooting, said riot police have blocked off the Castellane housing project in northern Marseille. The project is rife with drug gangs and violence.

Samia Ghali, a senator from the region, told iTele that she spoke with the police director and was told that the gunmen were targeting police and also firing at random.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was due in Marseille, France's second-largest city, on Monday to talk about security and education.