Police storm French supermarket and shoot dead ISIS militant who was holding hostages after killing three people in gun rampage

  • The Moroccan stormed a Super U supermarket in Trebes, south west France, and took hostages this morning
  • After an hours-long standoff special police forces descended on the shop and shot suspected jihadist dead
  • Fanatic, armed with a gun, knives and a grenade, had hijacked a car, killing a passenger and injuring the driver
  • The gunman, named as Redouane Lakdim, 26, then shot at officers and injured one in the city of Carcassonne
  • That police officer is now fighting for his life in hospital and 16 victims were wounded, two of them seriously
  • He then drove to supermarket and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar, I’ll kill you all’ before killing a worker and shopper
  • Lakdim also demanded the release of Salah Abdeslam the last surviving suspect in 2015 ISIS attack in Paris

An ISIS fanatic has been shot dead by police in France after he killed three people in a gun rampage and supermarket siege.

The lone extremist, armed with a gun, knives and a grenade, hijacked a car, shot its passenger in the head and fired at police officers in Carcassonne, south west France, before driving to a Super U shop in Trebes and taking hostages.

After screaming ‘Allahu Akbar, I’ll kill you all’, the Moroccan Islamist, named as 26-year-old Redouane Lakdim, killed a butcher and a shopper while terrified customers either fled from the store or hid in a cold room.

During the siege, during which 16 people were wounded and two seriously hurt, Lakdim demanded the release of Salah Abdeslam, 28, the last surviving suspect in the 2015 ISIS attack in Paris that left 130 dead.

But after an hours-long standoff, special police units converged on the scene and stormed the supermarket. President Emmanuel Macron this afternoon called Lakdim’s rampage a ‘terrorist act’, the first to hit France since he became leader in May.

French investigators said the man was known to intelligence services and had been flagged in a database of radicalised militants. His home was raided today and a neighbour said she had seen Lakdim ‘taking one of his younger sisters to school’ before he launched his attack.

It has emerged that a French military officer took the place of a supermarket hostage, entering the danger zone as the drama unfolded. The 45-year-old lieutenant-colonel named as Arnaud Beltrame, who is now fighting for his life in hospital, left his mobile phone on a table so police could hear what was happening.

Through that phone, police heard gunshots inside the building and decided that elite forces had to storm the market, killing Lakdim.

‘I wish to salute in turn the heroism of the lieutenant-colonel,’ said public prosecutor for Paris François Molins during speech in Carcassonne this evening.


How the Carcassonne terror attack unfolded

Prior to the attack: Redouane Lakdim, believed to be of Moroccan descent, was flagged to intelligence services and appeared in a database of radicalised militants.

He was also known to authorities for petty crimes including drug dealing.

Lakdim was incarcerated in Carcassonne some time in 2016, according to Le Parisien, though it is unclear what for.

The paper also reports he was very active on Salafist networks online and was suspected of having made a trip to Syria, though it is not known when.

How the Carcassonne terror attack unfolded (Video)

Morning, Friday March 23: Lakdim, who reportedly lived with his mother and three or four sisters in Carcassonne, is seen walking his little sister to school

Some time before 11am: Lakdim hijacks a car somewhere in his home town.

A passenger in the vehicle is shot in the head and killed while the driver is wounded before the terrorist drives away.

Approximately 11am: The attacker opens fire on four policemen jogging near the edge of town.

One officer is wounded after being hit in the shoulder. Bullets also strike a nearby car, shattering the back window. Lakdim escapes in the stolen vehicle.

Approximately 11.15am: Gunshots are reported at a Super U supermarket in the town of Trebes as Lakdim storms in, taking hostages.

Two people are later shot dead, though it is unclear precisely when or why.

French police initially say a dozen people are wounded, though uncertainty remained around the exact toll on Friday afternoon.

Some time before 2pm: A French policeman makes his way into the supermarket after agreeing to swap himself for a hostage.

He is later wounded, though it is not clear exactly how.

Approximately 2pm: French police storm the supermarket, shooting Lakdim dead.

This afternoon, ISIS claimed responsibility for the shooting spree, saying one of its ‘soldiers’ had acted ‘in response to calls to attack Coalition countries’. It was referring to the U.S.-led coalition that has been carrying out airstrikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq since 2014. France is part of that coalition.

Interior minister Gerard Collomb said the attacker was Redouane Lakdim, 26, who lived with his parents and his four sisters in a flat on a council estate in Carcassonne, a town that is a UN World Heritage site and a major French tourist attraction

It was raided on Friday early in the afternoon, where a neighbour said she had seen Lakdim ‘taking one of his younger sisters to school on Friday morning’.

Lakdim was subject to an S-file, which means the intelligence services considered him a security threat. He spent a short time in prison in 2016.

Collomb said Lakdim was not considered a terror threat – despite earlier reports.

‘He was known by the police for petty crimes, we had monitored him and did not think he had been radicalised,’ Collomb said after arriving at the scene of the hostage-taking in the town of Trebes, near Carcassonne.

‘He was already under surveillance when he suddenly decided to act,’ he said.

The gunman had earlier held up a car in the nearby city of Carcassone, killing a passenger and then firing six shots at police officers, all members of the city’s CRS 57 unit wearing athletic clothes with police insignia. Shouting ‘vengeance for Syria’, he injured one officer, before driving off towards the supermarket where he held several hostages. The injured officer is not in life-threatening condition.

Forensic officers were combing the scene of the massacre on Friday afternoon and set up a cordon in the supermarket car park around a white Opel Corsa, thought to be in some way linked to the gumnan. It has not been made clear whether this was the car hijacked by Redouane Lakdim.

Who was the French supermarket gunman? ISIS fanatic Redouane Lakdim was a Moroccan national drug dealer who was on the police watch list

How the Carcassonne terror attack unfolded (Video)
A specialist police officer at the scene of the triple shooting by Islamic State fanatic Redouane Lakdim

The gunman who killed three people in southwest France on Friday before being shot dead by police was a 26-year-old known as a small-time drug dealer with a history of minor crimes.

The rap sheet against Redouane Lakdim, who lived in nearby Carcassonne, eventually drew deeper scrutiny by investigators worried he was at risk of Islamic radicalisation.

Lakdim, who has Moroccan nationality, was added to a watchlist of people considered possible extremists, security sources told AFP.

‘He was known by the police for petty crimes, we had monitored him and did not think he had been radicalised,’ Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told reporters at the scene in Trebes.

Le Parisien newspaper reported that Lakdim lived with his parents, and quoted a neighbour 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’ who ‘always had a kind word to say’, adding that he regularly attended a mosque.

Yet Lakdim reportedly shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is greatest) as he stormed a supermarket and took hostages in an attack that was later claimed by the Islamic State group.

Collomb said that Lakdim had ‘suddenly decided to act’.

His trajectory appears to have followed a grimly familiar pattern in France over recent years of young men progressing from petty crimes into terrorism, often despite surveillance by the authorities.

Since the January 2015 massacre at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris by two men claiming allegiance to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, more than 240 people have been killed in jihadist attacks.

A few days later Amedy Coulibaly stormed a Jewish supermarket in Paris, taking hostages and killing four people before being killed by police.

All three men had a history of extremism and were known to French intelligence, with Coulibaly first meeting one of the Charlie Hebdo attackers while in prison.

And in the deadliest attack, at the Stade France and the Bataclan concert hall and nearby bars in November 2015, ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud and Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving commando member, had both served time for robbery around 2011.

A string of deadly gun and knife attacks has followed, and Collomb has said dozens of others have been thwarted by police as the government stepped up anti-terror measures.

In Carcassonne itself, police had arrested a 22-year-old man in June 2016 on suspicions he was planning to target American and Russian tourists, after months of surveillance.

Police traced the car involved in the shooting in Carcassonne to the hostage-taking in Trebes after it was found in the car park of the supermarket, a security source told AFP.

Eric Menassi, the mayor of Trebes, confirmed that ‘a supermarket worker was shot dead’ and a CRS officer ‘wounded in the shoulder’.

Carole, who was shopping at the supermarket, described how people had taken refuge in a cold room.

‘A man shouted and fired several times. I saw a cold room door, I asked people to come and take shelter,’ she told Franceinfo radio. ‘We were ten, and we stayed an hour. There were more gunshots and we went out the back door.’

Another customer in the supermarket in southern France that was taken over by a gunman describes the assailant as a ‘very agitated man shouting several times ‘Allahu akbar”.

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 one.’

Guibbert said he had sought shelter with his wife, sister-in-law and other customers into the butchery’s refrigerator.

Then he went back into the supermarket’s main room and walked toward the assailant, calling police and describing the situation.

He says the suspect ‘ran after me’.

Guibbert escaped out an emergency market door as elite police forces arrived to storm the building.

A security source, said: ‘Most of the Super U staff and customers managed to get away.’

Local media reported that Lakdim was demanding the release of Salah Abdeslam – the prime surviving suspect in the ISIS attacks that killed 130 people in Paris in 2015.

Abdeslam, a French citizen born and raised in Brussels, went on trial in Belgium last month. He is accused of ‘attempted murder in a terrorist context’ over a Brussels shootout in March 2016, four months after he fled Paris on the night of the carnage during which his brother was among the suicide bombers.

Helicopters could be seen circling over Trebes today, a picturesque medieval town of around 5,000 people, while heavily armed police had closed down roads surrounding the supermarket.

As the drama unfolded this morning, police led the hostage-taker’s mother, who lives in Carcassonne, to the supermarket in an effort to persuade him to give-up.

‘She’s gone to talk to him – to try and gethim to drop his weapons, and give up,’ said a source at the scene. ‘His sister is there too.’

This was a tactic used by the authoritiesin 1994 when Armed Islamic Group terrorists hijacked an Air France plane in Algiers, the capital of Algeria, and wanted to fly it to Paris to crash into the Eiffel Tower.

The leader of the hijackers disobeyed his mother – who spoke to him through a loudspeaker – and carried on with the terrorist attack. France’s GIGN was involved, and it ended with the deaths of all four hijackers, and three passengers, with the plane only getting as far as Marseille.

Meanwhile a French policeman who was shot by the Islamist after swapping himself for a hostage has been hailed as a hero.

Cop is hailed a hero after hostage swap as he fights for his life in hospital

A policeman, who was shot by the gunman after swapping himself for a hostage during the siege has been hailed as a hero.

He has been named by BFM as Arnaud Beltrame – a hero officer knighted the Legion of Honor in May 2012.

The officer was well versed in the scenario he found himself in today, having taken part in an exercise which replicated the scenario of a mass killing in a supermarket in nearby Carcassonne just four months ago.

He was among a group of officers who rushed to the scene after the attacker, who claimed allegiance to ISIS, stormed the store and fired on shoppers and staff before taking them hostage.

Speaking at the scene Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said a police team immediately intervened after the start of the siege at around 11am.

‘They managed to get some of the people out,’ he said, but the attacker kept one hostage back as a human shield.

A senior officer then offered to take the hostage’s place and remained holed up with Lakdim while negotiations to end the standoff continued.

The officer ‘left his telephone on the table’, to allow police to listen in.

‘When we heard shots the GIGN (an elite police force) intervened,’ the minister said, adding that the policeman was ‘seriously injured’.

Collomb praised his ‘courage’ and ‘act of heroism’.

An officer from the SWAT team was also hurt in the operation to kill the gunman.

Hostage taker called for the release of Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam

The hostage taker called for the release of Salah Abdeslam, the ISIS terrorist who helped murder 130 people in Paris in November 2015.

Abdeslam, a 28-year-old French national of Moroccan descent, is currently in solitary confinement in a high-security prison near Paris, while awaiting trial.

Abdeslam has admitted helping coordinate the 2015 attacks, but failed to let off his suicide bomb vest out the Stade de France, France’s national sports stadium, during a football match between France and Germany.

He is the only terrorist survivor of the murderous 2015 ISIS attack in Paris and was Europe’s most-wanted fugitive when he was captured in Brussels after four months on the run.

He was extradited from Belgium to France and imprisoned, but has not gone to trial in France.

How the Carcassonne terror attack unfolded (Video)
Prime suspect in the November 2015 Paris attacks Salah Abdeslam (R) sits as he is surrounded by Belgian special police officers in the courtroom prior to the opening of the trial in Brussels, Belgium, 05 February 2018

Abdeslam did, however, appear in court in Brussels last month and said silence would be his defence, as he systematically refused to answer the judge’s questions.

Abdeslam and another man, Sofiane Ayari, went on trial facing charges of attempted murder in a terrorist context for a shootout with police on March 15, 2016.

Abdeslam escaped out a window with Ayari while a third Islamic State suspect died. The pair were captured a few days later on March 18.

On March 22, 2016, Islamic State suicide bombers struck the Brussels metro and airport.

Prosecutors have asked for the maximum 20-year prison sentence.

The policeman was among a group of officers who rushed to the scene after the attacker stormed the store and fired on shoppers and staff before taking them hostage.

Speaking at the scene Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said a police team immediately intervened after the start of the siege at around 11 a.m.

‘They managed to get some of the people out,’ he said, but the attacker kept one hostage back as a human shield.

A senior officer then offered to take the hostage’s place and remained holed up with Lakdim while negotiations to end the standoff continued.

The officer ‘left his telephone on the table’, to allow police that had surrounded the building in the sleepy town of 5,000 inhabitants 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 ‘act of heroism’. An officer from the police SWAT team was also hurt in the operation to kill the gunman.

The attack poses a new challenge to Macron’s leadership as he faces nationwide strikes and criticism of his reforms, which include a tough new counterterrorism law that gives police extra powers to conduct searches and hold people under house arrest.

Macron rushed back from an EU summit in Brussels to the crisis center in Paris that was overseeing the investigation into the attack.

Standing next to Macron in Brussels, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her sympathy with those affected by the hostage-taking.

‘When it comes to terrorist threats, we stand by France,’ she said.

Today’s shootings come with France still on high alert after a string of jihadist attacks since 2015, starting in January that year with the assault on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead.

France also suffered major attacks in Paris in November 2015 when IS jihadists killed 130 people in bombings and shootings at bars, restaurants, the Bataclan concert venue and the national stadium.

In July 2016, in another attack claimed by IS, a man drove a truck through revellers celebrating Bastille Day in the Riviera resort of Nice, killing 84 people.

A state of emergency put in place just after the Paris attacks was finally lifted in October last year, but soldiers continue to patrol major tourist sites and transport hubs under an anti-terror mission.

If the link to ISIS is confirmed, the hostage-taking would be the first deadly attack in France since October, when two young women were stabbed to death outside Marseille’s main train station.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb was heading to the scene, he wrote on Twitter.

The area of southwest France where Friday’s shootings took place has been scarred by Islamic extremism before.

In 2012, Mohamed Merah shot dead seven people including three Jewish schoolchildren in the nearby city of Toulouse.

Deadly terror attacks in France since 2015
Here is a recap of the major jihadist attacks that have killed more than 240 people across France since the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shootings.


October 1: A 29-year-old Tunisian cries ‘Allah Akbar’ (God is Greatest) and kills two young women with a knife at the main train station in the southern city of Marseille.

Ahmed Hanachi is shot dead by soldiers on patrol. His attack is claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.

April 20: A 39-year-old ex-convict shoots dead an on-duty policeman and wounds two others on Paris’ Champs-Elysees avenue.

Gunman Karim Cheurfi is killed by police and a note praising IS is found next to his body, with the group claiming responsibility.


July 26: Two teenagers slit the throat of an 85-year-old priest in front of five worshippers at his church in the western town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.

Abdel Malik Petitjean and Adel Kermiche, both aged 19, are killed by police. The murder is claimed by the IS. The teenagers had sworn allegiance to the group in a video.

July 14: A Tunisian ploughs a truck through a large crowd gathered for Bastille Day fireworks on the Promenade des Anglais in the Mediterranean city of Nice. The attack kills 86 people and injures more than 400.

The driver, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, is shot dead by security forces. IS claims responsibility.

June 13: Larossi Abballa, 25, uses a knife to kill a police officer and his partner at their home in Magnanville, west of Paris, in front of their young son.

Abballa is killed by a police SWAT team, but has already claimed the murders on social media in the name of IS.


November 13: France is hit by the worst terror attacks in its history. IS jihadists armed with assault rifles and explosives strike outside a France-Germany football match at the national stadium, Paris cafes, and the Bataclan concert hall in a coordinated assault that leaves 130 people dead and more than 350 wounded.

August 21: Passengers prevent a bloodbath on a high-speed Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris, tackling a man who opened fire on travellers. He was armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, an automatic pistol and a box-cutter. The gunman is identified as 25-year-old Moroccan national Ayoub El Khazzani, known to intelligence services for links to radical Islam.

June 26: Frenchman Yassin Salhi, 35, kills and beheads his boss and displays the severed head, surrounded by two Islamic flags, on the fence of a gas plant in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier in southeastern France. He tries to blow up the factory, but is arrested. He commits suicide in his jail cell.

April 19: Sid Ahmed Ghlam, an Algerian IT student, is arrested on suspicion of killing a woman who was found shot dead in her car, and of planning an attack on a church in the Paris suburb of Villejuif. Prosecutors say they found documents about Al-Qaeda and IS at his home, and that he had been in touch with a suspected jihadist in Syria about an attack on a church.

February 3: A knife-wielding man attacks three soldiers guarding a Jewish community centre in Nice. The 30-year-old assailant, Moussa Coulibaly, is arrested. In custody, he expresses his hatred for France, the police, the military and Jews.

January 7-9: Two men armed with Kalashnikov rifles storm the Paris offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo killing 12 people. A policewoman is killed just outside Paris the following day, while a gunman takes hostages at a Jewish supermarket, four of whom are killed. The attackers are killed in separate shootouts with police, but not before claiming allegiance to Al-Qaeda and the IS.

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