At least three people have died in a carjacking and hostage crisis in southern France, media reports say. The gunman, who reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS, was also killed by police in a raid on the supermarket where the hostage crisis unfolded.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the incident “seems to be a terrorist act.”
Officials named the suspected gunman as 26-year-old Redouane Lakdim. The Reuters news agency reported that Lakdim had been known to authorities for petty crimes but not as an Islamic radical.
Lakdim is believed to have shot at a police officer in the historic walled city of Carcassonne and killed someone while hijacking a car, before going on to take hostages at the Super U store in the nearby town of Trebes, media reports say.
Some reports say that a gendarme offered himself in a swap for one of the hostages inside the supermarket. He left his mobile phone line open during the exchange, and when gunshots were heard by police monitoring the line, they decided to storm the supermarket.
It is unknown whether the gunman acted alone. He was reportedly heavily armed and demanding the release of Salah Abdeslam, one of the suspected assailants in the Paris attacks of Nov. 13, 2015, in which 130 people were killed at the Bataclan theater and at other places across the French capital.