Emmanuel Macron hails 'grandeur' of officer who died to save jihadist's hostage

Posted March 29, 2018

With the coffin of Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame before him in the courtyard of Les Invalides military complex, Mr Macron ranked the officer among France's national heroes for the bravery that he showed.

But outrage over the killing of Arnaud Beltrame, the French officer whose throat was slit by Lakdim after taking the place of a hostage, and three other people could put new pressure on President Emmanuel Macron to take more aggressive measures.

While French authorities had monitored Radouane Lakdim before his rampage Friday and normally share information about radicalized dual nationals, "We were not notified about Lakdim's radical background", Abdelhak Khiame, director of Morocco's Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations, told The Associated Press.

While in practice, almost all children in France already start school at three, there are around 2.4 per cent who do not, majority living in the poorest parts of France or in overseas territories.

Beltrame talked to the terrorist, offering himself in exchange for a woman being held as a human shield.

"To accept to die so the innocent can live: that is the essence of what it means to be a soldier", Macron said. The attacker reportedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, before being killed by police.

Speaking on France Inter, he said "ultimately no one thought that there would be a hasty attack" by Lakdim, a Moroccan-born French resident with dual nationality.

"It's important for me to be here to pay tribute to all the police officers who protect us on a daily basis and risk their lives for us", said 64-year-old Andree.

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After inspecting troops at the monument as a military band played a stirring rendition of the French national anthem, the Marseillaise, Mr Macron posthumously awarded Mr Beltrame the Legion of Honour, France's highest award.

The attacker wounded four other people, including the driver of the hijacked vehicle and a policeman shot while out jogging.

Across the country, police stations will pause for a minute's silence at 4pm Singapore time.

"You behaved in your last moments just as you behaved throughout your whole life", he wrote on Facebook.

"You can't separate one from the other".

Rightwing opposition leader Laurent Wauquiez and far-right leader Marine Le Pen have accused the government of a laxist approach to the jihadist approach.

The government hit back at the criticism Tuesday.

Molins said Lakdim had been listed on a police register for radicalized people since 2014 because of its suspected links with the local Salafist circles.

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