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France Honoring Police Officer Killed After Volunteering to be Hostage


French gendarmes arrive for a ceremony for their slain colleague Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame at the airport in Carcassonne on March 27, 2018.

France is holding a ceremony Wednesday to honor a police officer who was killed last week after offering to take the place of a hostage during an attack on a supermarket.

President Emmanuel Macron is addressing the ceremony in Paris for Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame. The president has said Beltrame died as a hero.

Earlier Wednesday, police stations across France paused for a minute of silence. That followed an observation of silence Tuesday by lawmakers in the National Assembly.

The gunmen in Friday's attack killed three other people. Authorities identified him as 25-year-old French-Moroccan Radouane Lakdim, and the Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the assault.

Arnaud Beltrame poses for a photo in Avranches, western France, in this photo dated March 2013. The officer who trade himself for a female hostage was identified as Col. Arnaud Beltrame.
Arnaud Beltrame poses for a photo in Avranches, western France, in this photo dated March 2013. The officer who trade himself for a female hostage was identified as Col. Arnaud Beltrame.

The attacker first hijacked a car Friday morning near Carcassonne, killing the passenger and wounding the driver. He then drove off in the car and shot into a group of police officers who had been jogging, wounding one of them.

Next, in Trebes, near Carcassonne, Lakdim walked into the Super U supermarket and killed two people. He held several hostages in the supermarket, where Beltrame volunteered to swap himself for the hostages.

The gunman agreed and Beltrame kept an open line on his phone so his fellow officers could hear what was going on. When the officers heard more gunshots, they stormed the market, killing the gunman.

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