At least two people have lost their lives in a hostage situation that took place in Trebes, a community located in southwestern France. The gunman stormed a popular supermarket earlier Friday, March 23, announcing his alleged ties to the Islamic State before opening fire on the people inside. The attack came after a police officer was wounded by an armed man who followed the authorities’ patrol car and shot at the vehicle.
According to the New York Times, the wounded officer is expected to make a full recovery as his injuries were non-life threatening. French president Emannuel Macron believes there is a direct link between the auto shooting and the supermarket incident, and stated to the press admitting that he feels this was “indeed a terror attack” rather than a random act of violence.
News of the attacker’s death was announced by Interior Minister Gerard Collomb via Twitter, but the post was deleted shortly after being published. Since that time, however, the Guardian has confirmed that the man in question was indeed killed by French law enforcement officials. The source also gives detail to a third individual who is said to have lost their life in the hostage crisis, although this information remains conflicting with other publications.
Frederic de Lanouvelle, a spokesperson for the interior minister, confirmed the two people who were initially announced as deceased, but would not speak to the current state of those who were injured in the attack or those taken hostage by the gunman. The majority of French news outlets have ireported that most of those involved managed to escape the supermarket without being harmed.
The incident has brought a renewed sense of fear among the citizens of France, as they have faced their fair share of terrorist attacks over the past few years. Since June 2015, the nation has seen a total of eight of these incidences. One of the most severe occurred in July 2016, when a man proclaiming allegiance to the Islamic State drove a truck through a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day, killing 86 people and injuring more than 400 others. In November 2015, a series of mass shootings and suicide bombings occurred in the cities of Paris and Saint-Denis, with hostages being taken at the Bataclan theater, resulting in an hours-long standoff with police.
Many residents of France blame the recent string of attacks on loose immigration laws and also believe that heads of government are not doing nearly as much as they should be to keep track of those individuals already on a terrorist watch list. The gunman in Friday’s shooting is said to have had his name in the system; and yet, nothing was done to keep him from obtaining a weapon and executing his plan to “free the suspects from the Paris attacks,” which, allegedly, was the primary demand he made in the supermarket as he took hostages and killed the aforementioned individuals.