The French police officer who volunteered to trade places with a hostage during the siege has died, said Interior Minister Gerard Collomb on Saturday.45-year-old lieutenant colonel Arnaud Beltrame offered to trade places with a hostage, said Collomb, in what he described an 'act of heroism'.According to Collomb, he had a call running on his mobile phone throughout the attack to allow police units to monitor the situation inside the supermarket."And so he stayed with him. The terrorist opened fire. The tactical unit intervened. And shot down the terrorist."The gunman, named as local man Redouane Lakdim, 25, of Moroccan origin, was known as a petty criminal.
However, Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins revealed on Friday night that Lakdim had been monitored by security services for links "with the Salafist movement".Molins said that when Lakdim entered the shop, in which some 50 people were present, he claimed to be a "soldier" of Daesh (Islamic State), ready to die for Syria.
He also demanded the liberation of 'brothers' before shooting dead a customer and a member of staff.Initial media reports suggested Lakdim demanded particularly the release of Salah Abdeslam - the prime surviving suspect in the ISIL attacks that killed 130 people in Paris in 2015.Molins also revealed that Lakdim had threatened to blow up the store before security forces moved in.
Before seizing hostages, Lakdim had already shot one person dead and injured another while stealing a car on Friday in the nearby town of Carcassonne, which is one of France's top tourist attractions.He then shot at four police officers who were jogging, injuring one of them, before taking hostages at the supermarket in Trèbes, about 8 km to the east, where two people died.
The Portuguese government indicated on Friday night that a Portuguese citizen was among those killed in the attacks.Molins said that a person in the immediate entourage of Lakdim had been placed in custody on Friday night.More than 240 people have been killed in France in attacks since 2015 by assailants who pledged allegiance to so-called Islamic State or were inspired by the group.The last deadly attack in France was in October 2017 when a Tunisian-born man stabbed two young women to death in Marseille before he was shot dead by soldiers. ISIL also claimed responsibility for that attack.(UNI)