What happened?

On Friday (23rd March), a gunman fatally shot 4 people and injured 16 others when taking hostages at the Super U supermarket in the town of Trebes located in southwest France. The gunman was identified to be 26-year-old Redouane Lakdim who shouted “Allahu Akbar” before the act. He demanded the release of Salah Abdeslam, the prime surviving suspect in the Paris attacks that saw 130 people killed. ISIS has since claimed responsibility for this act of terror. Despite being on the watchlist of suspected Islamic extremists, the French authorities did not believe Lakdim had been radicalized before he acted. Ladkim’s act of terror started when he shot the occupant of the car he stole and wounded one of the bypassing police joggers before heading to the supermarket where he killed two more. The last victim was 44-year-old gendarme* Arnaud Beltrame, one of the first respondents to the supermarket scene who voluntarily exchanged places with a female hostage. Security forces sieged the supermarket and shot Lakdim after he fatally wounded Beltrame.

 

Our hearts go out to the people of France

This is the 4th Islamist attack in France since 2012, with more than 200 people killed – 12 were killed with the assault on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, 130 in the major Paris attacks in November 2015 and 84 people in the Bastille Day attacks in Nice in July 2016. These acts of terror were carried out by assailants who either pledged their loyalty to ISIS or were inspired by radical hard-line groups.

As one of the key members of anti-ISIS coalition that conducts routine bombings on ISIS strongholds in Iraq and Syria, France has always been a prime target for Islamist terrorists. France’s Minister of Interior, Gérard Collomb, mentioned that French security forces have already foiled two planned attacks in February this year. “Every day we detect facts and foil new attacks. Alas, this one struck without us being able to counter it,” said Collomb.

*a paramilitary police officer in France and other French-speaking countries

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