“France will never forget his heroism, bravery and sacrifice”
Having already killed one person for his car, an armed terrorist took hostages in a supermarket in Trèbes, France to demand the release of Salah Abdeslam, a surviving member of an ISIS cell that attacked Paris in November 2015. That coordinated attack resulted in the deaths of 130 people.
The terrorist was killed by police, but not before he took the lives of five people and wounded 16 others. One of the people killed during the terror attack was 44-year-old Lt-Col Arnaud Beltrame, a French police officer who traded himself for a hostage being held in the supermarket.
The radical Islamist terrorist who shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he stormed the grocery store was shot and killed by police.
A French police officer who volunteered to trade places with a hostage during a terror attack involving a standoff in a supermarket has died of his injuries, France’s interior minister said Saturday local time.
French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said on Twitter Saturday morning that the lieutenant colonel who was seriously injured, Arnaud Beltrame, died.
“France will never forget his heroism, bravery and sacrifice,” Collomb said in the tweet.
In a statement released later Saturday morning, a spokesperson for French President Emmanuel Macron said that Beltrame “died in the service of the nation, to which he had already brought so much. By giving his life to put an end to the murderous armed jihadist terrorist, he has fallen as a hero.”
After the majority of the hostages were released and the terrorist was holding at least one female hostage as a body shield, Beltrame volunteered himself to replace her. He was in the store for about two hours before shots rang out.
The 44-year-old was the first policeman to arrive Friday at the supermarket where a gunman, Radouane Lakdim, had shot two civilians at the store and taken others hostage. Lakdim had earlier shot and wounded a police officer out jogging in Carcassonne, around 15 minutes away from Trèbes.
When Beltrame entered the supermarket he left his mobile phone on to allow police who had surrounded the building to listen in.
On hearing gunshots, the police special forces then stormed inside, killing the gunman and recovering Beltrame. The wounded gendarme was rushed to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries early Saturday.
Beltrame is being honored across France and his heroism celebrated around the world.
Un vrai héros! https://t.co/CB2XaqBntH
— U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco (@USAmbFrance) March 24, 2018
Lt Col Arnaud Beltrame, wounded after taking the place of a hostage in the attack yesterday at #Trèbes, gave his life to save the lives of others. Truly a hero. Our thoughts this morning with his family and his comrades. And our solidarity with France pic.twitter.com/Ly2xIl90h9
— Ed Llewellyn (@EdLlewellynFCDO) March 24, 2018
Arnaud Beltrame put himself in harm’s way to save another human being. It cost him his life. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to this hero. pic.twitter.com/SC8Z2cyQjP
— Frans Timmermans (@TimmermansEU) March 24, 2018
Lt-Col Arnaud Beltrame, 44, was shot and stabbed after he traded places with one of the captives following a shooting spree in southern France.
Flags are being flown at half-mast at gendarmerie bases across France.
His brother Cedric said Col Arnaud “didn’t have a chance”, adding that his actions were “beyond the call of duty”.
“He gave his life for strangers. He must have known that he didn’t really have a chance. If that doesn’t make him a hero, I don’t know what would,” Col Arnaud’s brother Cedric told a French radio station on Saturday.
. . . . French President Emmanuel Macron also paid tribute to the officer, saying that Col Arnaud “fell as a hero” after showing “exceptional courage and selflessness”, adding that he deserved “the respect and admiration of the whole nation”.
UK PM Theresa May said the “sacrifice and courage” of the police officer would not be forgotten.
A special service honoring Beltrame and the other victims of this terrorist attack was held this morning in Trèbes.
Two days after a gunman claiming allegiance to the IS group killed four people in Trèbes and Carcassonne in southwestern France, survivors of the attack packed the Saint-Etienne-de-Trèbes church for a special Sunday Mass honouring the victims of the assault.
Members of the region’s Muslim community were among those mourning at the special Palm Sunday service. The manager of the supermarket sat in the front row, alongside her husband, the town mayor.
Paying tribute to Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame, the heroic gendarme, or police officer, who was slain after swapping himself with a hostage during Friday’s siege at a Trèbes supermarket, the Bishop of Carcassonne and Narbonne Alain Planet hailed the police officer’s “extraordinary devotion”, saying “the whole of France has been touched by this”.
Residents have been laying flowers in front of the Trèbes supermarket where the attacker seized hostages Friday.
The director of the national gendarme service is meeting Sunday in Carcassonne with Beltrame’s widow and French President Emmanuel Macron has also ordered a national memorial for Beltrame.
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