Eight people have been injured, including a seven-year-old girl, after gunmen opened fire outside a mosque in southeast France.

The shooting, which was not being treated as terrorism, took place in Avignon, Provence, at about 10.30pm on Sunday night.

Worshippers were leaving the Arrahma mosque when at least two “hooded men” pulled up in a Renault Clio. Police said the crowd fled in panic when the gunmen, armed with a handgun and a shotgun, started shooting.

According to media reports, Four people were injured at the scene and a family of four in a nearby apartment received shrapnel wounds.

A seven-year-old girl was among those injured. The shooting comes two weeks after a man attacked worshippers outside a Finsbury Park mosque in London, killing one and injuring nine. With France’s Muslim community already on edge after the London attack, a man tried to drive his car into worshippers a few days ago outside the Creteil mosque in southeast Paris.

The driver, a 43-year-old Armenian who suffered from schizophrenia, hit barriers and pillars outside the mosque with his 4×4 without causing any injuries before crashing into a traffic island.

According to a source close to the investigation, the suspect had made “confused remarks in relation” to a string of jihadist attacks that have struck France, killing 239 people since 2015.

Some Muslim officials have described the Paris incident as an attack and called on the authorities to “strengthen protection of places of worship”.