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PARIS - A gunman killed three people in southwestern France on Friday in a burst of violence that included hijacking a auto, shooting at police officers and opening fire and taking hostages in a supermarket.

Redouane Lakdim, the 26-year-old gunman, pledged allegiance to the terrorist group and took hostages at a Super U supermarket where he yelled "Allahu Akbar".

On Friday morning local time, a gunman named as Redouane Lakdim, 26, is reported to have hijacked a auto, killing the passenger in his hometown of Carcassonne.

The gunman who killed three people in southwest France on Friday before being shot dead by police was a 25-year-old small-time drug dealer with a history of minor crimes.

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The attacks were the first deadly assault in France by a suspected jihadist since October, when two young women were stabbed to death outside Marseille's main train station.

The gendarme helped bring an end to a gunman's shooting spree that killed three in southern France.

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

One police officer was shot in the shoulder but the injury was not serious, Mr Lefebvre said.

Through that phone, police heard gunshots inside the building and decided that elite forces had to storm the market, killing Lakdim, Collomb said. Police then stormed the supermarket. The source also gives detail to a third individual who is said to have lost their life in the hostage crisis, although this information remains conflicting with other publications. "We had monitored him and thought there was no radicalisation", Collomb said, before adding: "He was known for possession of drugs, we couldn't have said that he was a radical that would carry out an attack".

France's Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said the incident "appears to be a terror attack". "Everything leads us to believe it is a terror attack", he said.

"It was the act of a hero", he said. Without naming sources, it said he was active on Salafist social networks.

Speaking at the scene earlier Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said a police team immediately intervened after the start of the siege at around 11 a.m.

President Emmanuel Macron, who was in Brussels for an European Union summit, headed back to Paris, where he was filmed chairing a crisis meeting with ministers and security officials.

The hostage situation lasted several hours, during which witnesses said about 20 people found refuge in the supermarket's cold storage room.

Two innocent civilians have been killed following a suspected terrorist attack in a French supermarket earlier this morning.

Collomb said three people were wounded.

The suspect then went to a Super U supermarket in the nearby small town of Trebes, Lefebvre said.

In this image taken from BFM TV shows a police vehicle parked on a crossroad in Trebes, southern France, near the scene of an incident, Friday March 23, 2018.

Changing target, he headed towards the riot police's garrison, where he shot at four officers jogging outside, before driving away.

Trebes, a sleepy town of 5,000 people along the Canal du Midi, was on lockdown throughout Friday as helicopters swirled overhead and heavily armed and masked police carried out a massive operation in Lakdim's neighbourhood.


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