UPDATE 07:59AM: Armed police have shot and killed the gunman who took hostages at a supermarket in the southern French town of Trèbes, according to government officials. Reports say the gunman pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.
According to the BBC, he is believed to have killed and wounded his victims in three separate incidents which began in the town of Carcassonne, 15 minutes’ drive from Trèbes (440km from Cannes). There, he reportedly hijacked a car, killing one passenger and injuring the driver. He also shot and wounded a policeman in the same town.
The suspect is then believed to have driven to Trèbes, where he took hostages in the supermarket. He is said to have been heavily armed and demanding the release of Salah Abdeslam, a surviving suspect in the November 13 2015 attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people. Reports say the suspect was known to French intelligence services and that his mother is at the scene.
Previous, 7:03 AM PT Armed police have reportedly shot and killed a hostage-taker after storming a supermarket in the southern France town of Trèbes. This is a developing situation and we’ll be updating this story with the latest accurate information as we get it.
According to reports, at least three people are dead and multiple people were wounded in the supermarket attack in the southern town, which is 440km west of Cannes.
Authorities are treating this as a possible terror attack and armed police set a perimeter around the supermarket where the gunman was holed up. A number of shoppers and staff have been evacuated from the site, according to local officials. Reports say the gunman pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.
“The situation is serious,” French Prime Minister Édouard has said. “All the information we have suggests this is a terrorist act.” Shortly before the supermarket incident, a car is reported to have driven past a group of policemen in Carcassonne, 8km west of Trèbes, and a gunman opened fire. One police officer was injured. Police are investigating whether the two incidents are related.
The attack echoes a number of terror assaults in France in recent years, including the November 2015 Bataclan murders which left 130 dead and the slaying of the Charlie Hebdo newsroom earlier that year. In July 2016, a man drove a truck through crowds of people in Nice, killing 86 people.
Today’s attack is potentially the first major terror incident to befall the country under the leadership of new President Emanuel Macron.
More to come…