UPDATE @ March 25 2018 | Flags are flying at half mast across France, following the death of a ‘hero’ police officer.
Arnaud Beltrame, 44, a gendarme who once served in Iraq, took the place of a female hostage during a supermarket siege in the south western town of Trebes on Friday.
He was shot and stabbed by the gunman, who was then killed when Police stormed the building.
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Lt Col Beltrame was rushed to hospital, but President Emmanuel Macron confirmed he had died overnight.
“He fell as a hero, giving up his life to halt the murderous outfit of a jihadist terrorist,” President Macron said in a statement.
Lt Col Arnaud Beltrame, wounded after taking the place of a hostage in the attack yesterday at #Trèbes, gave his life to save the lives of others. Truly a hero. Our thoughts this morning with his family and his comrades. And our solidarity with France pic.twitter.com/Ly2xIl90h9
— Ed Llewellyn (@EdLlewellynFCO) March 24, 2018
EARLIER @ March 24 2018 | A man, who was known to authorities, has been shot dead following a hostage situation in south western France, which saw three others killed and 16 wounded.
The gunman shot a passenger point-blank and injured a driver during a carjacking in Carcassonne, before opening fire on a group of police who were out for a jog.
He then stormed a supermarket in nearby Trebes, taking hostages.
Witnesses say he was heard screaming “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic) before barricading himself inside the store.
Authorities rushed to the scene and a 45-year-old lieutenant-colonel swapped himself in exchange for one of the hostages.
Lt Col Arnaud Beltrame is being hailed a hero for putting his own life in danger and is now in a critical condition.
Lt Col Arnaud Beltrame. #hero who substituted himself for hostages during terror attack in #France. Remember that name instead of that cowardly #bastard #criminal who pulled on a cloak of religion to commit 3 despicable #Murder #Trèbes via @smay06 pic.twitter.com/xyaJ0ivInI
— mickmoran (@mickmoran) March 23, 2018
Police later stormed the supermarket and the attacker, named as 26-year-old Redouane Lakdim, was killed.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told reporters was known as a petty criminal but not considered an Islamist threat.
“We had monitored him and thought there was no radicalisation,” Collomb said.
“He was known for possession of drugs. We couldn’t have said that he was a radical that would carry out an attack.”
President Emmanuel Macron was notified and left an EU summit in Brussels to return to Paris to chair a crisis meeting with ministers and security officials.
— 7 News Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) March 23, 2018