An Islamic terrorist who screamed “Allahu Akbar, I’ll kill you all”, has been shot and killed by French police after killing three people and injuring at least a dozen others in separate incidents in the town of Trebes, near Carcassonne in southern France.
During a standoff at a local supermarket, BFM TV reported the jihadi had demanded the release of Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of the group who massacred 130 people during the Paris Attacks in November 2015. The then French President, Francois Hollande declared that attack “an act of war”.
The interior minister Gerard Collomb said the attacker, Redouane Lakdim, a 26-year-old french-moroccan, was known to the authorities as a radicalised petty criminal and was under surveillance but not considered a terror threat. Despite this, earlier today he brutally killed a driver with a bullet to the head during a car-jacking in Carcassonne. A police officer was also shot and injured while jogging with colleagues in a drive-by attack believed to be carried out by the same man. He then drove the vehicle to the nearby town of Trebes, where he immediately opened fire, killing two people, before taking up to 8 hostages in a local supermarket.
Most hostages were later released with a gendarme (armed police officer), himself badly injured, offering to exchange himself for a female hostage to which the attacker agreed. The gendarme apparently let his mobile phone on, allowing his colleagues to hear the situation inside the supermarket. The stand-off lasted some 3 hours before armed police stormed the supermarket, killing the Moroccan, who was said to be armed with a gun, knives and a hand grenade. The Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the attack.
France has suffered an epidemic of Islamic terrorist attacks in recent years with the previous one being on October 1st last year at Marseille railway station in which two women were stabbed to death. The preceding July, a priest’s throat was slit at his church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, while 86 people were slaughtered when a lorry mowed them down in Nice, during Bastille day celebrations. The month before these attacks, a police officer and his partner were stabbed to death by a jihadi in Magnanville, west of Paris. Seven months before that attack, jihadists armed with bombs and assault rifles, targeted the national stadium, cafes and the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, killing 130 and injuring a further 350. The January before the Paris massacre, 17 people were killed in the Charlie Hebdo attack. The following day, a policewoman was killed along with 4 others who were taken hostage at a supermarket in Paris.
Redouane Lakdim, like his predecessors, was a failure of a human being : he was arrested several times for drug offenses, jobless, 26 and living with his parents. We also know that he was very active on salafi websites, and that the French intelligence was aware of his radicalism. It would also seems that Lakdim was naturalized French in 2015, even though he was listed as a potential terrorist threat as soon as 2014.
This is nothing new unfortunately. The French intelligence already failed multiple times at preventing known islamists from murdering innocents. Among the 22 perpetrators of terrorist attacks in France since 2012, 10 were listed as potential terrorist threats, and 6 were known for their activities in salafi communities or mosques. Still, nothing was done, and nothing has been done to make sure that the islamists listed in the database are properly neutralized or sent back home if they happen to be foreign citizens. French lives apparently aren’t worth it.
The blame however, cannot be put entirely on the French intelligence, since politicians keep pouring more and more potential terrorists into the country, with minimal or no screening, thus making the task of the French police harder and harder everyday. French policemen and policewomen have been hurt badly by the wave of terrorist attacks, losing 8 officers and having 23 others wounded in action, counting today’s wounded police and GIGN. Their bravery however has remained unequaled, as Arnaud Beltrame, the gendarme who offered himself as a hostage to free the last civilian from the terrorist, proved it today.
Unfortunately, there is no sign of decreasing activity from islamic terrorist organisations, as the French government announced recently that two terrorist attacks had already been prevented so far in 2018.
Update: Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame, 45, the gendarme who was seriously injured, yet heroically swapped places with a female hostage, has died from his injuries. The Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said, “France will never forget his heroism, his bravery and his sacrifice.” The French President, Emmanuel Macron, called Mr Beltrame a hero saying, “He saved lives and honoured his colleagues and his country.”
Mr Collomb also described how after the hostage swap, while negotiations were ongoing, Beltrame managed to leave his phone on and placed on the table, allowing his colleagues outside the supermarket to listen in on his conversation with the attacker.
When gunshots were heard from inside, the GIGN, an elite tactical unit of the Gendarmerie, stormed the supermarket killing the gunman. The Interior Minster did not say how or when the Officer was injured.