Security operatives Friday killed a suspected terrorist dead after he shot three people dead in southern France. The man claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group, security sources told AFP.
The gunman — believed to be a Moroccan, was on a watchlist of suspected Islamic extremists — after he carried out three separate attacks in the medieval town of Carcassonne and nearby Trebes.
The man first hijacked a car in Carcassonne, killing a passenger and injuring the driver, before shooting a policeman who was out jogging with his colleagues nearby.
He then drove to a Super U supermarket in the sleepy town of Trebes and holed up there for more than three hours with hostages, killing at least two people, according to sources.
A witness reported that the assailant was armed with knives, a gun and grenades and shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) before going into the supermarket.
“A man shouted and started firing several times,” one shopper at the supermarket told FranceInfo radio station.
“I saw an open door for a refrigerated area and I told people to come to shelter there,” she said.
“We were 10 people and we got out by the emergency exit at the back.”
After letting his hostages go, the gunman remained in the store with just one policeman, who along with another officer was shot and injured when anti-terror forces swooped on the building.
The killing spree came with France still on high alert after a string of jihadist attacks since 2015.
French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the quick reactions of the emergency services and said he would be returning to Paris from Brussels at the end of an EU summit so he can coordinate the national response.