French police opened fire on a dinghy of migrants with potentially lethal rubber bullets, to prevent their illegal boat crossing the Channel to the UK.
The attack, the first known case of gun tactic to halt a migrant boat launch, has prompted an investigation by French national police authorities.
The incident marks a major ramping up of tensions on the beaches, as gendarmerie night patrols battle to control the fleet of boats headed for Britain.
Two Iranian Kurds struck by the bullets were taken to hospital following the shooting – one with a fractured leg and the other with a broken hand.
The shooting happened in darkness at Dunkirk, five miles from Grande Synthe, with eight Iranian Kurds carrying a dinghy, which was destined to bring 40 migrants from France, towards the sea.
Hundreds of migrants live in bleak camps in the woods near Grande Synthe, awaiting a boat to Britain.
According to Mail Online reports, those carrying the boat claim that the group of gun-toting policemen laughed at them as their injured comrades fell to the ground.
One of the injured migrants, 24-year-old Juanro Rasuli, was last night still in Dunkirk central hospital with a fractured left leg, which was wrapped in bandages.
He reportedly did not want to speak out because of the fear of reprisals.
A second man is undergoing medical treatment as an outpatient, after being shot in the hand.