BEIRUT, OCT. 29 -- Gunmen attacked three French Embassy guards shopping in the Christian Dawra district at Beirut's northern entrance this morning, killing two and seriously wounding the third, the embassy said.
The three, in uniform, had parked their jeep about 70 yards away from an antique shop specializing in copper and brass goods. Two men armed with submachine guns approached and shot the Frenchmen in the head before getting into a car and disappearing into the thick of Dawra's midmorning traffic, a witness said.
The Foreign Ministry in Paris said, "France condemns this odious attack."
The Defense Ministry identified the two dead men as gendarmes Lt. Christian Mondon, 29, and Sgt. Maj. Andre Cruz, 48. It said Sgt. Miguel Collignon was seriously injured.
The three were based at Dijon, but were on duty in Beirut on a resupply mission as part of the 95-man unit of soldiers and gendarmes guarding the embassy, the consulate in West Beirut and the ambassador's residence.
This was the second major attack in 14 months against French military personnel in Christian-controlled areas. Military attache Christian Gouttiere was assassinated outside the East Beirut embassy annex on Sept. 18 last year.
Lebanese President Amin Gemayel and Acting Prime Minister Selim Hoss denounced the shooting of the servicemen, which brought to eight the number of French gendarmes killed in Lebanon.
The Christian radio station Voice of Lebanon quoted a French official as saying: "We cannot accuse anyone but it is known we received threats from various sides." Western diplomatic sources last week said France was pulling out 10 embassy employes in a move aimed at minimizing risks here.
Islamic Jihad has urged France repeatedly to halt military aid to Iraq.
Washington Post correspondent Edward Cody in Paris contributed to this report.