French politician arrested for praising death of policeman in hostage situation

French policeman killed in extremist attack honoured in national tribute

Beltrame has been awarded France's highest accolade, the Legion d'Honneur, at the national memorial service.

Beltrame, 44, was shot and stabbed after he offered to change places with one of the captives in an armed supermarket siege in southern France.

Pope Francis joined leaders praising a French police officer who "gave his life out of a desire to protect people" during a terrorist attack.

With the coffin of Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame before him in the courtyard of Les Invalides military complex, Mr Macron ranked the officer among France's national heroes for the bravery that he showed.

Present at the ceremony were Beltrame's widow, dozens of his friends, family, colleagues, politicians, and several former French presidents.

Macron said France would prevail with calm against an "insidious enemy" that wanted to divide the French people and deprive them of their freedoms.

Lakdim, who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group, had already shot dead the passenger of a auto he hijacked in nearby Carcassonne, before driving to the supermarket and killing two more people there. And for that reason we will overcome this one.

"We will prevail thanks to the resilience of the French".


Macron, the 40-year-old who swept to power last May promising to transform France into a "start-up nation", wants to avoid seeing France and Europe fall behind Chinese and United States giants such as Alphabet's Google, Microsoft and Alibaba in this area.

Experts point out that France has around 20,000 people suspected of being Islamic extremists and security forces have been successful in thwarting a series of attacks in recent years thanks in part to tough new anti-terror laws.

Earlier, a minute's silence was observed in all police stations across France and flags were lowered to half-mast on public buildings.

Lakdim's rampage began when he shot dead the occupant of a vehicle he stole and fired on a group of police joggers, wounding one.

Beltrame took the place of the woman Lakdim was using as a human shield, hoping to negotiate once the terrified shoppers and supermarket staff were out of the way.

Counterterrorism prosecutor Francois Molins said Lakdim had been listed on a police register for radicalized people since 2014 and was under intelligence monitoring in the days leading up to the attack.

Beltrame has been hailed as a national hero, with family members saying it was typical of him to put others first.

"You behaved in your last moments just as you behaved throughout your whole life", he wrote on Facebook.

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