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French Policeman Who Took Place Of Hostage Dies After Terror Attack


Man Takes Hostages In Southern France
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French authorities say that a policeman who swapped himself for a hostage and was seriously wounded during a terror attack in southern France has died of his injuries.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said in a tweet on March 24 that Colonel Arnaud Beltrame "died for his country."

Three other people were killed and 16 wounded by a gunman involved in the shooting and hostage-taking incident on March 23 that the authorities said was a terrorist attack, national police said.

Authorities said the 25-year-old attacker was also killed as police stormed a supermarket where hostages were being held in a four-hour standoff in the town of Trebes, 100 kilometers southeast of Toulouse.

"Our country has suffered an Islamist terrorist attack," President Emmanuel Macron said in a televised address following a claim by the Islamic State militant group that it was responsibility for the violence.

News agencies quoted security personnel as identifying the gunman as Redouane Lakdim, a French citizen born in Morocco, calling him a small-time drug dealer with a history of minor crimes.

France's top counterterrorism prosecutor said the man yelled "Allahu akbar" and claimed he was a "soldier of the Islamic State" as he stormed the market.

On March 24, the Paris prosecutor's office said that police had detained a 17-year-old in connection with the investigation. The unidentified teenager was arrested overnight over alleged criminal association in relation with a terrorist enterprise. He is a friend of Ladkim, the prosecutor's office said.

Another person, a woman close to Lakdim, was taken into custody on the same grounds on March 23.

Officers said there were about 50 people in the market at the time.

Before the rampage in the supermarket, the suspect attacked police in the nearby city of Carcassonne, according to Yves Lefebvre, head of SGP Police-FO police union.

Bruno Bartocetti, the regional representative of the police union, said the suspect shot dead a person in Carcassonne.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa, and AP