A gunman claiming allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) went on a shooting spree in Carcassonne in south-west France on Friday, killing at least three people and injuring at least 16 more in several separate incidents that culminated in a fatal hostage crisis.
In the first incident, the gunman shot a motorist and killed the passenger before hijacking the car. He hid their bodies in bushes. The gunman drove to a military barracks and waited until a group of police staying at the barracks exited. He then drove at high speed towards the group of four policemen who were jogging. He shot at the policemen, hitting one of them. He then drove 5 miles to the town of Trebes where he entered a Super U supermarket and opened fire, killing two and injuring one. Almost all of the approximately 50 people in the store were able to flee the scene but the gunman succeeded in taking one hostage. The gunman agreed to exchange the hostage for a policeman. Lt Col Arnaud Beltrame volunteered to take the place of the hostage. Just after 2:30, police heard gunshots and stormed the supermarket, killing the gunman. Beltrame was shot and later died from his injuries. Two policemen were injured in the assault.
Several witnesses reported hearing the gunman shout “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is greater) several times. French prosecutors announced the gunman claimed allegiance to ISIS and that they were treating the incident as a terror attack.
French police identified the gunman as 26-year-old Moroccan national named Redouane Lakdim with a police record in petty crime. According to reports, the gunman said he wanted to “avenge Syria”. He demanded the release of Salah Abdeslam, the surviving member of the jihadists who carried out the November 2015 Paris attacks and remains in a French prison awaiting trial.
ISIS-affiliated Amaq news agency claimed he was “a soldier of the Islamic State who carried out the attack in response to the calls to attack coalition countries.”