Dead French hostage-taker a petty criminal

France shooting

A gun-wielding "Allahu Akbar" shouting terrorist unleashed bloodshed in a quiet corner of southern France on Friday, killing three people as he hijacked a auto, opened fire on police and took hostages in a supermarket, where panicked shoppers hid in a meat freezer or ran through the aisles.

Prosecutor Francois Molins said about 50 people were inside the market in Trebes when the gunman in Friday's attack, identified as 25-year-old Redouane Lakdim, came inside on Friday and took hostages.

It was not immediately clear where the three victims were, as beyond those shot in the supermarket, investigators believe Lakdim opened fire on people in the nearby Carcassonne and hijacked a auto, killing at least one.

The suspect then went to a Super U supermarket in the nearby small town of Trebes, 60 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Toulouse, taking an unknown number of people hostage.

Three people were killed in southwestern France on Friday when a gunman held up a auto, opened fire on police and then took hostages in a supermarket.

Friday, March 23, a gunman opened fire and took hostages in a supermarket in southern France.

The last lethal Islamist attack in France was in October 2017 when a Tunisian-born man stabbed two young women to death in Marseille before he was shot dead by soldiers.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the shooting and hostage-taking in southern France, saying the attack was carried by one of its "soldiers".

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.

Molins said that the attacker had fired several times on the officer "in circumstances that remain to be clarified", triggering the intervention of the special forces. "He then withdrew back into the supermarket".


Christian Guibbert, a shopper that escaped Lakdim at the supermarket, described his assailant as a "very agitated man shouting several times 'Allahu akbar'". The source also gives detail to a third individual who is said to have lost their life in the hostage crisis, although this information remains conflicting with other publications.

The source said two people had been killed according to a provisional toll, while regional police chief Jean-Valery Lettermann told AFP: "We are unfortunately expecting to discover there are more victims".

He was in a stable condition, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said.

The attack was carried out by "a foreigner on the "S" list who was also a delinquent", the party noted.

"It was more of a petty criminal who at a certain moment made a decision to act", he said.

But others said it was no worse than other housing estates, and said there had been no signs of radicalisation with Lakdim or other youths.

"He fell as a hero, giving up his life to halt the murderous outfit of a jihadist terrorist", President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement early this morning.

Up to 12 people are now reported to be injured, after the gunman reportedly demanded the release of Salah Abdeslam, the most important surviving suspect in the 13 November 2015 attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people.

Speaking at the scene earlier Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said a police team immediately intervened after the start of the siege at around 11 a.m.

Witnesses said about 10 people in the supermarket found refuge in its cold storage room. Two people-one employee and one customer-were killed in the supermarket. The officer was also seriously wounded.

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