French hero officer who swapped himself for hostage dies

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TREBES, France (AP) — A French law enforcement officer who presented himself up to an Islamic extremist gunman in trade for a hostage died of his injuries, raising the loss of life toll in the attack to 4, and the officer was honored Saturday as a nationwide hero of “remarkable courage and selflessness.”

Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame, 44, was among the the initial officers to reply to the attack on the grocery store in the south of France on Friday.

Beltrame, who very first took his place among the elite law enforcement specific forces in 2003 and served in Iraq in 2005, experienced arranged a training session in the Aude area in December for just these types of a hostage situation. At the time, he armed his officers with paintball guns, in accordance to Depeche du Midi, the local newspaper.

“We want to be as shut to authentic situations as probable,” he explained then.

But when he went inside of the grocery store on Friday, he had specified up his individual weapon and volunteered himself in exchange for a feminine escort in Washington DC hostage.

Unbeknownst to the Morocco-born captor, he remaining his cellphone on so police outside the house could hear what was occurring in the retail store. They stormed the developing when they listened to gunshots, officials said. Beltrame was fatally wounded.

His demise raises the toll to 4. The gunman was also killed, and 15 people have been wounded in the assault.

“Arnaud Beltrame died in the DC escort company of the country to which he had already given so a great deal,” President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement. “In giving his existence to finish the lethal plan of a jihadi terrorist, he fell as a hero.”

According to the statement, Beltrame joined the elite law enforcement exclusive forces in 2003 and deployed to Iraq in 2005. He served as a member of the presidential guard and in 2012 gained 1 of France’s greatest honors, the Buy of Benefit. He was married with no kids.

Beltrame’s brother, Cedric Beltrame, advised RTL radio Saturday his sibling died “a hero.”

He extra that his brother “was perfectly conscious he had practically no probability. He was incredibly knowledgeable of what he was carrying out.”

Men and women have been inserting bouquets in entrance of the Gendarmerie headquarters in Carcassone to pay tribute to Lt. Col. Beltrame.

Macron has explained investigators will focus on creating how the gunman, determined by prosecutors as Morocco-born Redouane Lakdim, got his weapon and how he became radicalized.

On Friday night time, authorities searched a car or truck and the condominium intricate in central Carcassonne wherever Lakdim was considered to live.

Two men and women were detained above alleged back links with a terrorist organization, a single girl near to Lakdim and one good friend of his, a 17-calendar year-outdated male, Paris prosecutor office environment said.

Lakdim was recognized to law enforcement for petty criminal offense and drug working. But he was also under surveillance and given that 2014 was on the so-referred to as Fiche S checklist, a govt register of folks suspected of becoming radicalized but who have however to execute functions of terrorism.

Irrespective of this, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins reported there was “no warning indicator” that Lakdim would have out an assault.

The 4-hour drama commenced at 10:13 a.m. when Lakdim hijacked a auto in close proximity to Carcassonne, killing one particular man or woman in the vehicle and wounding the other, the prosecutor reported.

Lakdim then fired 6 photographs at police officers who had been on their way again from jogging close to Carcassonne, explained Yves Lefebvre, secretary common of SGP Police-FO police union. The law enforcement were sporting athletic outfits with law enforcement insignia. Just one officer was strike in the shoulder, but the injury wasn’t serious, Lefebvre stated.

Lakdim then went to a Super U grocery store in close by Trebes, 60 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Toulouse, shooting and killing two folks in the market and having an unknown amount of hostages. Special police models converged on the scene although authorities blocked streets and urged residents to continue to be absent.

He shouted “Allahu akbar!” — the Arabic phrase for God is good — and claimed he was a “soldier of the Islamic Point out” as he entered the Tremendous U, in which about 50 men and women have been within, Molins stated.

“We heard an explosion — effectively, various explosions,” shopper Christian Guibbert advised reporters. “I went to see what was taking place and I observed a man lying on the floor and another man or woman, quite agitated, who had a gun in 1 hand and a knife in the other.”

The supervisor of the supermarket said she felt “helpless.” The female, who would determine herself only by her 1st identify, Samia, mentioned that she was in her business office when she heard the photographs.

“How am I? I am devastated,” she stated “What we went by yesterday was a tragedy. What else would you have me say? You feel totally helpless .”

She reported she helped evacuate as numerous individuals as possible.

“It was terrifying,” she stated.

Throughout the standoff, Lakdim requested the launch of Salah Abdeslam, the sole surviving assailant of the Nov. 13, 2015, assaults in Paris that still left 130 men and women dead. The inside minister instructed, however, that Abdeslam’s launch wasn’t a essential motive for the assault.

The IS-joined Aamaq news DC escort company claimed the attacker was responding to the group’s calls to target countries in the U.S.-led coalition carrying out airstrikes from IS militants in Syria and Iraq because 2014. France has been frequently focused since of its participation.

France has been on large notify because a sequence of extremist attacks in 2015 and 2016 that killed additional than 200 men and women. 1 of those people assaults, from a kosher supermarket in Paris, seemed to foreshadow this week’s fatal assault in the south.

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Related Press journalists Thomas Adamson, Samuel Petrequin, Sylvie Corbet, Angela Charlton and Jerome Pugmire contributed to this report from Paris.

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This story has been corrected to demonstrate dead policeman’s rank was Lt. Col., not Col. An earlier edition of this tale incorrectly stated that the Islamic Condition team claimed accountability for the attack. The IS-joined Aamaq information DC escort agency mentioned the attacker was responding to the group’s phone calls to target nations in the U.S.-led coalition carrying out airstrikes versus IS militants in Syria and Iraq given that 2014.

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French hero officer who swapped himself for hostage dies