||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (December 2008)|
|Canton||Istres Nord and Istres Sud|
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||François Bernardini|
|• Land1||113.73 km2 (43.91 sq mi)|
|• Population2 density||370/km2 (970/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||13047 / 13800|
|Elevation||0–120 m (0–394 ft)
(avg. 20 m or 66 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Istres (French pronunciation: [istʁ]) (Occitan: Istre) is a commune in southern France, some 60 km (38 mi) northwest of Marseille. It is in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, of which it is a subprefecture. Its inhabitants are called Istréens and Istréennes.
On April 25, 2013, a gunman shot and killed three people with a Kalashnikov rifle in a shooting spree in Istres. The Kalashnikov was found abandoned in a ditch after the shooting. The suspected gunman was arrested not far from the scene. He is known for hoarding military weapons and having a history of psychiatric problems. Some media reports have said that he had a history of mental illness while the RTL Group claim he is affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
Istres is adjacent to the étang de Berre lagoon (the largest in Europe) and the étang de l'Olivier lagoon. It is located some 60 km (38 mi) north-west of Marseille, 20 km (13 mi) south-west of Salon-de-Provence, 10 km (6 mi) north of Martigues and 45 km (28 mi) south-east of Arles. Istres is also adjacent to the plaine de la Crau and the Camargue national park.
Istres has a Mediterranean climate characterised by mild, humid winters and hot, dry summers. January and February are the coldest months, averaging temperatures of around 7 °C. July and August are the hottest months. The mean summer temperature is around 24 °C (75 °F) with an average maximum temperature around 32°C. The amount of precipitation is around 566 mm (22 inches) per year. The Mistral, a cold and often violent wind, blows through the city mostly in winter and spring.
Istres is the home of the Le Tubé Air Base (Istres-Le Tubé Air Base or BA 125). This air base was one of 3 utilized by NASA as a contingency landing site for the Space Shuttle in the case of a Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL). Istres shared this responsibility with Zaragoza, Spain and Moron, Spain.
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