AFP, Associated Press & Reuters


Paris:  A policeman was shot and a man took hostages at a supermarket in two separate incidents in the same area of southwest France on Friday, security sources told AFP.

The policeman was shot in the town of Carcassonne, while a gunman fired shots during a hostage-taking Friday morning at a supermarket in the town of Trebes 15 minutes’ drive away.

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The man “entered the Super U supermarket at around 11.15 am and shots were heard,” a source said of the Trebes incident. Local authorities tweeted that the area was out-of-bounds to the public.

An AP report said the Police surrounded supermarket amid possible hostage-taking after the shooting of police officer.

A Reuters copy added that the man holding hostages in the supermarket claimed allegiance to Islamic State, quoting French media

The gunman who fired shots during a hostage-taking at the supermarket claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group, the local prosecutor’s office said.

Shortly beforehand, an armed man shot and injured a police officer in the city of Carcassonne, about 15 minutes by car from Trebes.  It was not clear whether the two incidents were linked.

French authorities say a police operation is taking place in a small town in southern France after a police officer was shot and wounded.

A suspect has been surrounded at the supermarket in the town of Trebes, south of Toulouse, and might have taken hostages, national police said.

Authorities in the Aude region are warning people to avoid the area around the supermarket.

The UNSA police union also said on Twitter a police operation was underway after an individual had earlier shot at four officers in the Carcassone region injuring one of them.

Citing sources, Europe 1 radio said the same individual was now holding hostages at the supermarket in the town of Trebes. BFM TV said the man had claimed allegiance to Islamic State.

Eight people are being held captive, a police source said.

BFM TV said the hostage-taker has claimed allegiance to Islamic State.

A source at the Paris prosecutor’s office said counter-terrorism prosecutors were investigating the hostage-taking.

The local prefecture confirmed the hostage-taking at the Super U supermarket but did not confirm the Islamic State allegiance.

Earlier, France’s Interior Ministry had said security officials were carrying out an operation at a supermarket in southern France, but gave no details.

French Prime Minister said the situation in southern France is “very serious”