France mourns for the victims of the jihadist attack held Friday in a Super U supermarket in Trèbes, where a police officer chose to swap his life for the lives of the hostages.
Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame, 45, lost his life after he asked the terrorists to take the place of a female hostage during the Friday assault. The attacker, Radouane Lakdim, 26, was a Moroccan-born French citizen who supported ISIS. He already was on the radar of the police. He killed other two people during the event, and another one earlier that day to steal a car.
“I bow to the courage, the sense of sacrifice and the exemplary nature of this officer who gave his life for the freedom of the hostages,” was posted by the French National Police said on Twitter.
Beltrame died a hero
Lakdim was already known by the police because of his links to radical Salafist networks. According to the authorities, he shouted he was one of the soldiers of ISIS when he entered the supermarket, then he opened fire.
He killed a worker and a customer of the supermarket. About a dozen people were hurt. The police shot him dead at the scene thanks to the help of Beltrame.
Lakdim was using a woman as a human shield. That was when Officer Arnaud Beltrame offered himself to swap places with the hostage. The ISIS supporter shot him, but didn’t die right away. He passed away late on same Friday because of his wounds.
In the scene of the attack, the police found two unexploded homemade bombs, a hunting knife, and a 7.65 pistol. The police discovered that the gunman also killed another person on the same day to steal a car. Another person was also hurt. Both people were in the stolen car.
The gunman also shot four National Police officers who were jogging in Carcassonne. He tried to run the officer over. One of them is wounded but his life is not at risk.
“Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame died in the service of the nation to which he had already contributed so much. By giving his life to end the murderous escapade of a jihadist terrorist, he died a hero.” said French President Emmanuel Macron. “His leadership skills, his willingness, his unfailing commitment were appreciated by everyone, especially in the development of counterterrorism capacity in the Aude police force,” Macron stated.
As well, Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said that the country will never forget Beltrame’s heroism and sacrifice. Beltrame was too brave when he gave his life for the freedom of the hostages. With his death, the death toll of the attack raised to four.
During the attack, Beltrame left his phone on, and that allowed the police to hear his interactions with the killer. Therefore, as the police officers were able to hear the gunfire, they entered and killed the gunman.
“People were absolutely calm before and never thought that there could be an attack in a town like this,” said Collomb during a press conference, adding that France has a “very high” risk of terrorism.
An exceptional police officer
Beltrame was married and had no children. He served in the French military police. In 2005, he served in Iraq. He received many awards for his excellent performance. In 2007, he received an award for bravery. In 2012, he was knighted in France’s League of Honor. He served four years as a commander in the Republican Guard, which keeps the Élysée Palace safe. The Élysée Palace is home to the French president.
He also served as secretary-general in the Ecology Ministry for four years. In 2017, he was chosen to be deputy commander of the anti-terror police in the Aude region.
According to a French newspaper, La Dépêche du Midi, Beltrame led a simulated terrorist attack last December, precisely in a supermarket, which is similar to the situation he found himself in last Friday.
More than 230 people have died in terrorist attacks in France
France is one of the westerns countries that has suffered more terrorist attacks in the last years.
About 230 have died in terrorist attacks over the past three years. 17 of them died during the mass shooting that took place in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015. 130 died during the attacks that took place in Paris in following November. In 2016, 86 deaths were registered in the Nice attacks during the Bastille Day celebrations. As well, several lone wolf attacks have taken place in the country.
“Our country has suffered an Islamist terrorist attack,” expressed Macron during a statement. “We’ve paid the price of the danger of the terrorist threat in blood for several years.”