Gunman in France hostage situation killed by police; at least 3 people dead

The gunman who killed at least three people and injured about a dozen others before barricading himself inside a supermarket in southern France has been fatally shot by police.

The suspect was identified as Redouane Lakdim, 26, a petty offender and small-time drug dealer who was said to be radicalized and under police surveillance, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the two attacks.

The French Prime Minister said the incident “seems to be a terrorist act.”

French President Emmanuel Macron said all proof suggested that it was a terror attack – the first one since he became president in May.

The series of events appeared to begin in Carcassonne where police find a body with a gunshot wound to the head, local media reported. Sources said the gunman is believed to have killed person or persons and injured another before stealing their vehicle.

Police have not identified the suspect or a motive for the hostage situation. ( Reuters)

The gunman then took shelter inside Super U market in Trebes around 11 a.m. local hour after reportedly shooting at a group of police officers who were returning from a task in nearby Carcassonne. One police officer was shooting in the shoulder and his injury was considered non-life-threatening.

At least two people were killed and about a dozen others were injured in the hours-long hostage situation in the supermarket.

The French Interior Ministry said police and rescue operations are the priority at the moment.

At the supermarket, the gunman reportedly swore allegiance to the ISIS and screamed “Allahu Akbar! ” which approximately translates to “God is Great! ” in Arabic.

Local French media reported the gunman also said “he is ready to die for Syria.”

Officials told Lakdim also demanded the release of Salam Abdeslam, the lone survivor of an ISIS terror cell behind the deadly 2015 assaults in Paris that killed 130 people.

Collomb praised the “heroism” of a French police officer who offered himself up as a captive swap during the attack. The police officer was seriously injured but it was not immediately clear how he was hurt.

A White House official told Fox News that President Trump has been briefed on the incident.

France has been on high alert since a string of Islamic extremist attacks in 2015 and 2016 that killed more than 200 people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report .

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