Beginning late this morning in the small southern town of Trebes, France, a gunman, believed to have ties with ISIS, marched into a supermarket and fired at civilians. It appears the attack is linked to an earlier event where a man shot at four police officers from a car and then proceeded to ram the officers as he drove off. Police tracked the car and ended up at the supermarket in Trebes where the gunman was shot dead after taking several hostages and murdering two civilians, according to a report from CNN.
Local media reported a body was found behind the police barracks in Carcassonne, a small town just next to Trebes, and another person found wounded. Apparently, the gunman attacked these two people before stealing their car, which he then used to attack police and transport him to the Trebes supermarket. The attacker was identified as Redouane Lakdim, 26, a petty criminal and small-time drug dealer who was said to be radicalized and under police surveillance, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said in a statement. The gunman is confirmed to have been of Moroccan origin.
Witnesses of the attack claim the terrorist yelled “Allahu Akbar!” which roughly translates to “God is Great!” in Arabic after declaring allegiance to the Islamic State. A BFM reporter on the scene also said the attacker demanded the released of Salah Abdeslam, the lone survivor of an ISIS terror cell behind the deadly 2015 attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead, though CNN cannot verify this. Abdeslam is currently on trial in Belgium.
French President Emmanuel Macron describes the incident as a terror attack and said, “Everything leads us to believe that it is indeed a terror attack which is, as I said, still ongoing. The police … intervened in a very coordinated manner after what was first an attack against police officers,” Macron said at a press conference alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels today.
France initiated a state of emergency status after the 2015 coordinated Paris attack and 2016 devastating Nice attack, which combined claimed over 200 people’s lives. That status, however, was lifted just last year. You can view a list of Tweets detailing the terror attack below from New York Times correspondent and NBC contributor Rukmini Callimachi.