At least one killed in France hostage-taking by Daesh
At least one person has been killed after a gunman claiming allegiance to Daesh terrorist group fired shots and took hostages at a supermarket in the southern French city of Trebes, La Depeche du Midi newspaper reports.
Mayor of Trebes also told BFM TV on Friday that there are two victims in the supermarket hostage situation.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the situation in southern France is “very serious.”
He added that one police officer has been injured in the attack.
The hostage-taker in Trebes has asked for the release of Paris November 2015 attacker Salah Abdeslam, BFM TV said, citing an anonymous source.
The incident in Trebes took place after the man “entered the Super U supermarket at around 11.15 a.m. and shots were heard,” a security source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Armed police were also responding to an earlier shooting of a policeman in the town of Carcassonne, 15-minute drive away, which took place at around 11 a.m. (1000 GMT).
It was unclear if the two incidents were linked.
According to local authorities’ tweets, the area was off-limits to the public.
If the link to Daesh is confirmed, the attack would be the first major incident since the election of centrist President Emmanuel Macron in May last year.
The Friday incidents occurred at a time that France is still on high alert after a string of attacks since 2015.
On January 7, 2015, Two Takfiri militants attack Charlie Hebdo magazine, killing 12 people, including top editorial staff. The attack was largely believed to have been launched over the weekly’s insulting cartoons of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
A day after the magazine attack, another militant killed a policewoman. On January 9, 2015, he also took people hostage at the HyperCacher supermarket and killed four of them before being shot dead by police.
On the same day, the escaped Charlie Hebdo gunmen were killed in a printing plant in Dammartin-en-Goele north of Paris.
France also suffered major attacks in Paris in November 2015 when Daesh launched a series of violent attacks, targeting cafes and a concert hall in Paris, and massacring a total of 130 people.
In July, 2016, a truck driver deliberately plows through a Bastille Day crowd in Nice, killing 84 people and wounding 200 others. An 85th victim of the attack, claimed by Daesh, died later in hospital.
France lifted a state of emergency put in place just after the Paris attacks in October last year, but soldiers continue to patrol major tourist sites and transport hubs under an anti-terror mission.