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Two dead as suspected Daesh gunman takes hostages in France | World

Photo: AFP

At least two people were killed after a gunman claiming allegiance to the Daesh group opened fire and took hostages at a supermarket in southwest France on Friday.

A security source said the two were killed in the attack at a Super U store in the town of Trebes.

Armed police were also responding to the earlier shooting of a policeman in the town of Carcassonne, 15 minutes drive away, which took place at around 11 am (1000 GMT).

It was unclear if the two incidents were linked.

In Trebes, a picturesque medieval town of around 5,000 people, the man “entered the Super U supermarket at around 11.15 am and shots were heard,” a source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Local authorities tweeted that the area was off-limits to the public.

If the link to Daesh is confirmed, the attack would be the first major incident since the election of centrist President Emmanuel Macron in May last year.

The shootings come with France still on high alert after a string of  attacks since 2015, starting in January that year with the assault on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead.

France also suffered major attacks in Paris in November 2015 when Daesh killed 130 people at bars, restaurants, the Bataclan concert venue and the national stadium.

In July 2016, in another attack claimed by Daesh, a man drove a truck through revellers celebrating Bastille Day, killing 84 people.

A state of emergency put in place just after the Paris attacks was finally lifted in October last year, but soldiers continue to patrol major tourist sites and transport hubs under an anti-terror mission.

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