Hostage fears at supermarket after police officer shot…

24 March, 2018, 12:29 | Author: Courtney Perry
  • France terror attack

PARIS - A gunman killed three people in southwestern France on Friday in a burst of violence that included hijacking a vehicle, shooting at police officers and opening fire and taking hostages in a supermarket.

He said Lakdim had claimed to be a "soldier" for the Islamic State jihadist group while storming the Super U market in nearby Trebes, before he was killed by police.

He is then thought to have fired on a group of policemen out jogging, wounding one in the shoulder, before driving to the nearby town of Trebes where he took up to eight people hostage in a supermarket.

The attacker was killed by officers around 2:30 p.m., authorities said, praising one "gravely wounded" police officer who exchanged himself for a hostage during the chaotic standoff.

A local TV station reported that the man, believed to be a Moroccan national, called for the release of Salah Abdeslam, the sole surviving member of an ISIS cell that attacked Paris in November 2015 and killed 130 people.

A customer in the supermarket in southern France that was taken over by a gunman describes the assailant as a "very agitated man shouting several times "Allahu akbar!"

Among the injured is Arnaud Beltrame, a 45-year-old lieutenant-colonel of the gendarmes who volunteered to swap himself for one of the hostages.

French prosecutor also said a man who lived with dead supermarket shooting suspect has been detained. The investigation into Lakdim is ongoing, with French police officers reviewing the contents of Lakdim's apartment in Carcassonne.

"Arnaud Beltrame died in the service of the nation to which he had already given so much", President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement.

Trebes terror attack
EPA ATTACK French security and police gather outside the supermarket in Trebes southern France

"All the information we now have leads us to believe it is a terrorist act", Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said while on a visit to Mulhouse in eastern France, cutting short the trip.Interior Minister Gerard Collomb was on his way to the scene.

The Paris prosecutor's office said counter-terrorism prosecutors were investigating the incident but did not comment on the possible ISIS allegiance. "We couldn't have said that he was a radical that would carry out an attack".

The police officer who was gravely injured by an "Islamist terrorist" gunman has succumbed to his injuries, the Interior Minister said.

The police officers, based in the southern city of Marseille, were on a temporary mission in Carcassonne, he said. The injured included the driver of the hijacked auto as well as a police officer who was shot and wounded while out jogging with colleagues in Carcassonne.

The supermarket attack marks the eighth terrorist incident to occur in the country over the past three years.

Carole, who was shopping at the supermarket, said people hid in a cold room.

The officer was injured in the assault by France's elite anti-terror police who have been called into action on multiple occasions over the last few years during a series of jihadist atrocities.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said that gendarmerie police arrived at once and managed to evacuate some of those in the supermarket. He killed and wounded his victims in three separate incidents which began in Carcassonne, a 15 minutes' drive from Trèbes.

Trebes, a sleepy town of 5,000 people along the Canal du Midi, was on lockdown throughout Friday as helicopters swirled overhead and heavily armed and masked police carried out a massive operation in Lakdim's neighbourhood.



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