Update (3 pm ET): French prosecutors have confirmed that the attacker in today's hostage situation in southern France shouted "Allahu Akbar" as he was beginning his assault and also claimed to be a soldier of the Islamic State.
ISIS swiftly took responsibility for the attack shortly after the news broke.
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Update (9:45 am ET): The gunman who has taken hostages in a small commune in southwestern France is demanding the release of Salah Abdeslam, one of the men behind the deadly 2015 Paris terror attack, Fox News reports.
Local media reports that three are dead at least 12 others are injured in the incident that French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said "seems to be a terrorist act."
However, local media are reporting that police have finally raided the supermarket after the hostages had been freed and they shot and killed the attacker.
The situation began to unfold around 11 am local time on Friday when the gunman opened fired at a group of CRS police officers who were jogging near the city of Carcassonne. One of the officers was shot in the shoulder but the injury is non-life-threatening.
The gunman then took shelter inside the supermarket in Trebes and reportedly yelled "Allahu Akbar!"
Mayor Eric Ménassi told a local TV station that the gunman was alone inside the Super U supermarket in the city of Trebes and that all other hostages have been released.
A White House official said President Trump has been briefed on the incident.
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An unidentified person has taken hostages at a supermarket in southwestern France after earlier firing at police officers.
The situation is unfolding in the commune of Trebes, part of Aude Prefecture. A police operation is underway.
🔴[OPERATION POLICE]🔴— Préfecture de l'Aude (@Prefet11) March 23, 2018
⚠️ Opération en cours secteur Super U Trèbes.
Secteur interdit ⚠️
Merci de faciliter l'accès aux forces de l'ordre.
⚠️ Intervention de police en cours à #Trèbes dans l'#Aude. La priorité est à l'intervention des forces de police et de secours. Plus d'informations à venir sur ce compte, ne diffusez pas de rumeurs ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/M2t4mLccG0— Ministère de l'Intérieur (@Place_Beauvau) March 23, 2018
A gunman is believed to be holding several people hostage at a Super U in the commune of Trebes. The gunman reportedly entered the shop just before 11 am, according to the Daily Mail.
At least two people have been killed, according to the AFP. Meanwhile, Metro reports that 8 people have been taken hostage.
#BREAKING At least two dead in French supermarket hostage-taking: security source— AFP news agency (@AFP) March 23, 2018
The man fired at a butcher working at the Super U supermarket in the town of Trèbes, after earlier shooting at police officers who were jogging, wounding one of them, in the town of Trèbes.
The suspect reportedly shouted "Vengeance for Syria!" as he fired at police...
Eric Menassi, the mayor of Trebes, confirmed that a supermarket worker was shot dead and a CRS officer "wounded in the shoulder".
Shortly before the hostage situation began, an armed man shot and injured a police officer in the city of Carcassonne, about 15 minutes by car from Trebes. It isn't yet clear whether the two incidents are related.
Police have surrounded the supermarket...
A source told local media: "A butcher in the U-Supermarket has been shot dead. The gunman was heard shouting slogans about the war in Syria. He says he is representing Islamic State."
Police say the man, who appears to be in his 30s, was armed with grenades.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack - but police haven't confirmed any details.
The attacker's MO is reminiscent of the Hypercacher kosher supermarket attack in Paris, which unfolded two days after the Charlie Hebdo shooting. The attacker in that incident also pledged allegiance to ISIS.
As AFP reminds us, France lifted a state of emergency put in place just after the Paris attacks in October last year, but soldiers continue to patrol major tourist sites and transport hubs under an anti-terror mission.
Police have surrounded the supermarket and are preparing an operation to deal with the situation...
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