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French hostage 'hero' dies from wounds

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By Philip Andrew Churm
Super U supermarket in Trèbes
Super U supermarket in Trèbes
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A French police officer who volunteered to take the place of hostage during a supermarket siege has died.

Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame (45) helped bring the shooting spree to an end.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the gendarme showed "exceptional courage" and "fell as a hero" during the attack at Super U store in Trèbes.

Interior Minister, Gerard Collomb said: ""The lieutenant colonel of gendarmerie, who was with his men, voluntarily substituted himself for a hostage of the terrorist. And so he stayed with him. The terrorist shot. The tactical unit intervened. And shot down the terrorist".

After the gunman, named as Redouane Lakdim, had already killed a member of staff and a customer at the store, Beltrame offered to take the place of the hostage.

Gerard Collomb said they had been monitoring Lakdim and added: "We had followed him and we were thinking that there was no radicalisation. He took action suddenly, when he was already under surveillance."

Lakdim had earlier hijacked a car, killing a passenger, before going into the supermarket shouting: "I am a soldier of Daesh."

He was demanding the release of Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the November 2015 attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people.

One person, who is thought to be Lakdim's partner, has been arrested and the family's apartment in Carcassone has been raided.