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French police shot an ISIS gunman who killed three people

A French cop negotiated to trade places with one of the hostages and is now fighting for his life.

by Tim Hume
Mar 23 2018, 6:02pm

French police have shot dead a gunman who killed three people in a carjacking and hostage-taking in the south of the country Friday, according to reports.

The man, identified by authorities as 26-year-old Redouane Lakdim, was engaged in an hours-long standoff with police after he took hostages at a supermarket in Trèbes. French President Emmanuel Macron said the incident appeared to be a terrorist attack.

The gunman claimed allegiance to ISIS and had been demanding the release of Salah Abdeslam, the main surviving suspect in the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris. An armed officer eventually entered the building and shot him dead, France's Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said.

ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Collomb said the standoff ended when a police officer, Arnaud Beltrame, negotiated to trade places with one of the hostages, then entered the supermarket and exchanged fire with Lakdim. Lakdim was killed, while Beltrame was wounded, and is now fighting for his life in hospital, Macron said.

Read: Everything we know about the ISIS attack in the south of France

The incident began at about 11 a.m. local time when Lakdim carjacked a vehicle in the nearby city of Carcassonne, about 5 miles from the supermarket, according to Bruno Bartocetti, a local police union representative. One person in the car was fatally shot in the head and another was wounded.

In the stolen vehicle, Lakdim then shot at a group of four police officers who were jogging, injuring one in the shoulder.

He then drove to the Super U supermarket in Trèbes, a small town near Toulouse, yelling “Allahu Akbar, I’ll kill you all” as he entered the store at about 11.15 a.m. (6.15 a.m. ET).

As police swarmed the scene, Lakdim demanded the release of Salah Abdeslam, the chief surviving suspect in the November 2015 Paris terror attacks, according to reports. Abdeslam is currently on trial in Belgium on charges relating to a shootout with police ahead of his arrest in March 2016.

Collomb said the standoff ended when a police officer negotiated to trade places with one of the hostages, then entered the supermarket and exchanged fire with Lakdim. The officer was wounded and Lakdim was killed.

One of the hostages, who gave her name as Carole, told Franceinfo radio that shoppers had sheltered in the supermarket’s cold room. “There were ten of us, and we stayed an hour. There were more gunshots and we went out the back door,” she said.

The attacker was known to police for petty crimes, including drug possession, said Collomb, but had not been considered an Islamist radical.

“We had monitored him and thought there was no radicalization,” 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.”

France has borne the brunt of the wave of jihadi attacks in recent years more than any other Western country, with more than 240 people killed on French soil by ISIS members or sympathizers since 2015.

Following the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015, France suffered the coordinated ISIS attacks of November that year that left 130 dead, and the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice that killed 84 people. In the most recent incident, two women were stabbed to death at Marseille railway station on October in an attack claimed by ISIS.

Cover image: French Police officers cordon off the area next during an incident in Trebes, southern France, Friday March 23, 2018. French counterterrorism prosecutors are taking charge of the investigation after a man went on a rampage, carjacking a vehicle, killing three people including a police officer and taking hostages at a supermarket, before being shot to death by police. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

This article originally appeared on VICE News US.