Hostage-taker in southern France fatally shot by security forces after killing three
A 26-year-old Moroccan national was fatally shot in a police raid after he killed three people and took hostages at a supermarket in Trèbes in southern France. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The Islamic State group claimed on a jihadist website that the man behind shootings in the southern city of Carcassonne and a hostage-taking at a supermarket in nearby Trèbes on Friday was one of its “soldiers”.
The suspect, 26-year-old Redouane Lakdim, was killed in a police raid on the supermarket, Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said. He was known to the authorities as a petty criminal and a minor drug dealer but was not thought to have been radicalised.
At least two people were killed in the supermarket attack, where Lakdim had demanded the release of November 13, 2015, Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam.
A third victim was shot and killed earlier in the day when Lakdim stole a car in Carcassonne, injuring the driver and killing a passenger. He later shot and injured an off-duty police officer.
Speaking upon arriving back in Paris from Brussels, French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the bravery of a senior police officer who exchanged himself for a hostage, saying he was now “fighting for his life”. Macron said a total of 16 people had been injured in the attacks in Carcassonne and Trèbes.
Macron said France’s security services were studying the claims of responsibility made by the Islamic State group but added that what happened on Friday was unquestionably “an Islamist terrorist attack”. “I urge our fellow French citizens to remain aware of the terrorist threat, but also to remember the force and resistance our people have demonstrated each and every time they were attacked,” he said.
In a press conference late Friday, Paris Prosecutor François Molins said Lakdim’s female partner had been taken into police custody. He said Lakdim had been on the terror watch list since 2014 and was monitored in 2016 and 2017 for possible links to ultra-conservative Salafist movements but there was no indication he posed an imminent threat. Lakdim was sentenced in 2011 for weapons possession and for narcotics in March 201
He said Lakdim had been on the terror watch list since 2014 and was actively monitored in 2016 and 2017 for possible links to ultra-conservative Salafist movements but that there was no indication he posed an imminent threat. Lakdim was sentenced in 2011 for weapons possession and for narcotics in March 2015.
“I hail the commitment, professionalism and courage of the security forces,” President Macron tweeted after delivering brief
Le Parisien newspaper reported that Redouane Lakdim lived with his parents and quoted a neighbour as saying he had dropped off one of his little sisters at school on Friday morning.
Another neighbour contacted by the paper described him as “calm” and “nice”, someone who “always had a kind word to say”, and added that he regularly attended a mosque.
A customer at the Super U supermarket in Trèbes that was taken over by a gunman describes the assailant as a “very agitated man who shouted, ‘Allahu akbar!‘ several times”.
Christian Guibbert told reporters: “We heard an explosion … well, several explosions. So I went to see what was happening and I saw a man lying on the floor and another person, very agitated, who had a gun in one hand and a knife in the other.”
Guibbert said he sought shelter with his wife, sister-in-law and other customers in the butcher’s refrigerator. Then he went back into the supermarket’s main room and walked toward the assailant, calling police and describing the situation.
He said the suspect then “ran after me”. Guibbert and others escaped out an emergency exit as elite police forces stormed the building.
Redouane Lakdim killed three people and injured at least four others over the course of his rampage on Friday. Two people died in the Super U supermarket hostage-taking while a third was killed earlier in the day when Lakdim stole a car, killing a passenger and injuring the driver. A police officer was later shot in the shoulder when Lakdim opened fire at a group of off-duty police officers jogging in the city of Carcassonne, about 8kms from Trèbes. The officers were wearing athletic clothes bearing police insignias.
A senior police officer was also shot after trading himself for a hostage at the supermarket and at least one gendarme was injured during the police raid on the supermarket.
Security sources have said Lakdim is believed to have been a Moroccan who was on a watch list of suspected Islamic extremists, but Interior Minister Collomb has not confirmed his nationality.
The Islamic State group said the shooting and hostage-taking in southern France was carried by one of its “soldiers”.
The IS group-linked Amaq jihadist propaganda network quoted a security official as saying that “a soldier of the Islamic State” carried out the attack in response to calls to target “countries of the coalition”, a reference to the US-led coalition that has been launching airstrikes against IS group targets in Syria and Iraq since 2014. France is a member of that coalition.
A French police officer who was shot on Friday after trading himself for a hostage at a supermarket in the southwest town of Trèbes is being hailed as a hero.
“They managed to get some of the people out,” said Interior Minister Gérard Collomb speaking at the scene, adding that the hostage-taker kept one person back to use as a human shield.
A senior police officer then offered to take the hostage’s place and remained holed up with suspect Redouane Lakdim, 26, while negotiations to end the stand-off continued.
The officer “left his telephone on the table” to allow the police that had surrounded the building to listen in, Collomb said.
“When we heard shots, the GIGN (an elite police force) intervened,” the minister said, adding that the policeman was “seriously injured”.
Collomb praised the officer for his “courage” and an “act of heroism”.
An officer from the police SWAT team was also hurt in the raid to end the supermarket siege in the sleepy town of Trèbes, which has just 5,000 inhabitants.
Interior Minister Collomb said the attacker is believed to have acted alone.
Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said the suspect, 26-year-old Redouane Lakdim, was known to the authorities as a small-time drug dealer.
“He was known to the police for petty crimes; we had monitored him and did not think he had been radicalised,” Collomb told reporters.
FRANCE 24’s expert on Islamist groups, Wassim Nasr, says the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the hostage-taking in Trèbes on a jihadist website.