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French police officer who traded places with hostage dies

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French police officer who traded places with hostage dies

Image: Gunman takes hostages in Trebes supermarket
@ Copyright :
Guillaume Horcajuelo
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A French police officer who volunteered to trade places with a hostage during a terror attack involving a standoff in a supermarket has died of his injuries, the country's interior minister said Saturday local time.

French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said on Twitter Saturday morning that the lieutenant colonel who was seriously injured, Arnaud Beltrame, died.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins has said that a lieutenant colonel offered to trade places with a hostage. The officer managed to surreptitiously leave his cellphone on so that police outside could hear what was going on inside the supermarket, the Associated Press reported.

The 25-year-old suspected attacker stole a car, opened fire at police and then took hostages before he was fatally shot on Friday, authorities said. Three other peoplewere killed and more than a dozen others were wounded in the attack, according to officials. Beltrame's death raises the total of those killed in the attack to four.

Police overpowered the assailant at a Super U store in Trèbes, about 8 miles southeast of Carcassonne and 60 miles north of the Spanish border.

Collomb previously identified the slain suspect as Redouane Lakdim, who he said acted alone.

The killings began at around 10:30 a.m. local time (5:30 a.m. ET), when police say Lakdim attacked two people and stole a car, leaving the passenger dead and the driver injured.

As he drove away, Lakdim came across four riot police officers who were out jogging. He fired at them, wounding one in the shoulder, before taking hostages in a nearby grocery store, where he killed two more people, police have said.

Officers then shot and killed Lakdim after storming the supermarket, Collomb said earlier.

Armed gendarmes stand outside the Super U after their assault Friday on the supermarket where a gunman took hostages in Trebes, southern France.
Armed gendarmes stand outside the Super U after their assault Friday on the supermarket where a gunman took hostages in Trebes, southern France.Guillaume Horcajuelo

Molins said at a press conference Friday that the attacker entered the supermarket shouting "Alluah Akbar" and that he was a soldier of the Islamic State and prepared to die. A witness said he had a gun in one hand and a knife in the other when he entered the store. Some hid in a meat locker.

The Islamic State-affiliated media unit A'maq released a statement on the Telegram app claiming that the attacker was a soldier of the terror group but provided no evidence to back up the group's claim, according to security consulting firm and NBC News partner Flashpoint Intelligence.

Collomb has called the lieutenant-colonel's actions "an act of heroism."