politics

Gunman Takes Hostages in South France, Claims Link to Islamic State

  • At least two people may have been shot and died, police say
  • A policeman was wounded in separate shooting nearby, AFP says

A gunman who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State took hostages at a supermarket in the town of Trebes in southern France Friday. At least two people shot may have died during the incident, the head of the police there told Agence France-Presse.

A policeman was hurt in a separate shooting in the same region, AFP reported. The Paris prosecutor’s office said its counter-terrorism unit has opened an investigation into terror-related killings linked to the events.

Police block access to Trebes on March 23.

Photographer: Eric Cabanis/AFP via Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron, who is in Brussels for a European Union summit, was being kept informed of the situation, an aide said in a text message. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe called it a "serious situation." Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said he was going to the site.

Most of the supermarket’s customers and employees have managed to run away and a policeman is currently in negotiations with the gunman, AFP also reported, citing sources close to the event.

France has suffered from a series of attacks since 2015. That year, gunmen killed more than a dozen people during attacks in and near Paris against newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket. In November 2015, terrorists struck the Bataclan concert hall and the streets of Paris, killing 130 people. In July 2016, a truck rammed into a crowd in Nice, killing more than 80 people.

Over the past couple of years, France’s police officers and soldiers protecting stations and public buildings have been targets of assailants claiming to be members of or inspired by the Islamic State.

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