ISIS Claims Responsibility for Attack That Left Three Dead in Southwestern France

France shooting
TWITTER ON THE CASE Emergency services have descended on the scene

24 March, 2018

The shooting attack unfolded when Lakdim hijacked a auto, killed its driver and attempted to mow down four police officers while opening fire at them.

A French policeman who was shot by a gunman Friday after swapping himself for a hostage in a siege at a supermarket in the southwest town of Trebes is being praised as a hero.

Three people have been killed and up to 12 wounded after hostages were taken in an apparent terror attack in a supermarket in southern France.

Daesh group claimed the attack was in response to its call to target its Western enemies - as is customary when the assailant has pledged allegiance to the militants.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who was in Brussels at an European Union summit, described the hostage incident as a "terror attack" and said he would return to France immediately.

Neighbours said the young man who lived with his parents and three sisters seemed "calm" and "nice".

When they heard shots being fired, special forces intervened and "took down" the gunman.

Mr Collomb told reporters on Friday that police officers had managed to get some people out of the supermarket but the gunman had held one woman back as a human shield.

In a press conference late Friday, Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said a female associate of Lakdim had been placed in custody in connection with Friday's attacks.

The French Interior Ministry said on its Twitter account Friday that police and rescue operations are the priority.

Officials believe he acted alone, and although he had been monitored, police "thought there was no radicalisation".

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Earlier, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said that all signs pointed towards a "terrorist act".

But there was a high risk from home-grown attackers, he said: "That is, you have a lot of individuals who have self-radicalized, with various psychiatric profiles; some of them are pathological, others not", he said.

"All the information we now have leads us to believe it is a terrorist act", Philippe said while on a visit to Mulhouse in eastern France, cutting short the trip.

The police officers, based in the southern city of Marseille, were on a temporary mission in Carcassonne, he said. "He saved lives and is an honour to our country", president Emmanuel Macron said.

The attack may be linked to an earlier incident in the nearby city of Carcassonne.

The hostage situation lasted several hours, during which witnesses said about 20 people found refuge in the supermarket's cold storage room. "He was already under surveillance when he suddenly made a decision to act", Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told reporters after flying to the scene, according to AFP.

BFM TV reported that he claimed allegiance to Islamic State.

The gunman then went to a Super U supermarket in Trebes, a village 60 miles south east of Toulouse, taking an as-yet-unknown number of people hostage.

When police heard gunshots, a tactical team stormed the supermarket.

Another police officer, who volunteered to replace one of the hostages at the Super-U grocery store in Trebes, is now fighting for his life after being severely wounded by the terrorist.

Medieval Carcassonne, a UNESCO heritage site, lies in the Languedoc region, known for its wine and picturesque countryside but also one of the poorest areas in France, with unemployment about three percentage points above the national average.

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