France hostage crisis highlights: 3 dead, police kill gunman as hostage situation in Trebes supermarket ends
Three people were killed in southwestern France on Friday when a gunman held up a car, opened fire on police and then took hostages in a supermarket, screaming “Allahu Akbar”.
Police later stormed the supermarket in the small town of Trebes and the attacker was killed, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told reporters at the scene.
The 26-year old attacker from the nearby city of Carcassonne, named as Redouane Lakdim, was known to authorities as a petty criminal but was not considered an Islamist threat, Collomb said, adding that he was believed to have acted alone.
More than 240 people have been killed in France in attacks since 2015 by assailants who pledged allegiance to, or were inspired by, Islamic State.
Here are the live updates:
7.16pm: Gunman in French hostage-taking killed by police: AFP quoting security source
7.14pm: A 45-year-old French military officer swaps himself for hostage: Reuters quoting source close to investigation.
7.10pm: 3 dead, 2 hurt in three separate attacks in France: Security source
7pm: French President Emmanuel Macron says hostage-taking incident appears to be a terrorist attack: Reuters
6.40pm: Attacker shot one person in the head in Carcassone before hosatge-taking before taking hostages in Trebes, said Bruno Bartocetti, the regional representative of the SGP police union. The two cities are about 20 minutes’ drive away.
BFM TV reported that the man had shot one person in a car and injured another before stealing the vehicle
6.24pm: Moroccan man identified as France hostage-taking suspect: Security source.
6.14pm: Same car linked to hostage-taking and police shooting: Security source.
6.05pm: French police say 2 killed, about a dozen wounded in supermarket hostage-taking in southern France.
5.58pm: Hostage-taker has asked for the release of Paris November 2015 attacker Salah Abdeslam: BFM TV
Abdeslam is the prime surviving suspect in the attacks in Paris that killed 130 people
5.30pm: Prime Minister Edouard Philippe says: “The hostage situation is ongoing. The operation is not over. All the information we have as I speak lead us to think that this would be a terrorist act.”
5.25pm: Mayor Eric Ménassi says gunman entered French supermarket shouting “Allahu Akbar, I’ll kill you all”.
5.12pm: At least two dead in French supermarket hostage-taking: security source.
5.10pm: Prime Minister Edouard Philippe described the situation, which investigators are treating as terrorism, as “very serious” and Interior Minister Gerard Collomb is heading to the site, his ministry said.
5.08pm: Mayor Eric Ménassi tells BFM TV that the hostage-taker was now alone with one police officer in the supermarket and all other hostages had been freed.
5.02 pm: At least one person has been killed during a hostage situation in a southern France supermarket - Depeche du Midi newspaper reported on Friday.
4.58pm: French prosecutors say treating hostage-taking as terror incident.
4.57 pm: The local prefecture confirmed the hostage-taking at the Super U supermarket but did not confirm the Islamic State allegiance.
A source at the Paris prosecutor’s office said counter-terrorism prosecutors were investigating the hostage-taking.
4.30 pm: France’s Interior Ministry had said security officials were carrying out an operation at a supermarket in southern France, but gave no details.
4. 20 pm: The UNSA police union also said on Twitter a police operation was underway after an individual had earlier shot at four officers in the Carcassone region injuring one of them.
Authorities in the Aude region are warning people to avoid the area around the supermarket.