Paris memorial to be held for policeman who died in Trèbes attack

A national memorial in Paris is set to take place in honour of the police officer who saved hostages during last week's supermarket attack • The gunman's girlfriend has been placed under formal investigation for terrorist conspiracy 

Col Beltrame 'fell as a hero' according the French President
Col Beltrame 'fell as a hero' according the French President

A National memorial service is due to take place in honour of the French police officer who died saving the lives of hostages in last week’s supermarket siege in Trèbes.

Lt-Col Arnaud Beltrame, 44, was killed after he traded places with one of the captives following a shooting spree in southern France on 23 March.

His coffin will be taken through Paris ahead of the service at Les Invalides. President Emmanuel Macron will lead the ceremony.

The French President will deliver a eulogy in front of Col Beltrame's friends, family and colleagues as well as members of the public gathered to pay their respects.

Last Saturday, Macron said the officer "fell as a hero" after showing "exceptional courage and selflessness" and deserved "the respect and admiration of the whole nation".

A minute's silence will also be held and Col Beltrame will be posthumously awarded the country's highest accolade, the Legion d'honneur.

Col Beltrame's actions helped bring an end to the siege that left three people dead.

"He gave his life for strangers. He must have known that he didn't really have a chance. If that doesn't make him a hero, I don't know what would," his brother Cedric told a French radio station on Saturday.

The gunman, 25-year-old Redouane Lakdim, had been on an extremist watch list and was known to authorities as a petty criminal, but intelligence services had determined he did not pose a threat. He was shot dead by police.

Sixteen people were injured, two seriously, in what was the worst jihadist attack under Mr Macron's presidency.

Lakdim was said to have demanded the release of Salah Abdeslam, the most important surviving suspect in the 13 November 2015 attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people.

The gunman’s 18-year-old girlfriend has been placed under formal investigation for terrorist conspiracy.

The woman, named in the media as Marine, appeared before judges on Monday, and is under investigation for conspiring with terrorists with a view to carrying out attacks. She remains in temporary police custody.

Marine, who had converted to Islam aged 16, had shouted Allahu Akbar when police arrested her, the prosecutor said. Her phone contact with Lakdim had stopped in January but she is thought to have continued talking to him on secure apps. The morning of the attacks, she had posted a message on social media saying that unbelievers were promised to hell, Molins said. She denied being aware of or associated with the attacks.

One other person, a 17-year-old friend of the gunman, was released on Monday after being questioned.

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