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15.47 28 Mar 2018


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A national ceremony has taken place in France for the police officer who died after exchanging himself for a hostage during last week's terrorist attack.

Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame intervened during a supermarket siege in the southern town of Trebes on Friday, taking the place of a female store worker.

The 44-year-old officer - a member of the Gendarmerie Nationale police force - died in hospital after being shot three times.

Three other people were also killed in a series of attacks by a radical Islamist in Trebes and nearby Carcassonne.

Today, the coffin of the Arnaud Beltrame was driven through a rainy Paris, with people lining the streets of the capital to pay their respects.

A memorial service was then held in the courtyard of Les Invalides, attended by family, friends and colleagues of the fallen policeman.

A photo of Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame placed on a bunch of flowers at the main gate of the Police headquarters in Carcassonne, France, 24-03-2018. Image: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

Addressing the nation, President Emmanuel Macron said Arnaud Beltrame symbolised the 'French spirit of resistance'.

President Macron said: "The name of his attacker will be forgotten, but the name of Arnaud Beltrame will live on [...] His example will remain etched in French hearts.

"To accept to die so the innocent can live: that is the essence of what it means to be a soldier. Others - even many who are brave - would have wavered or hesitated."

BBC reports Mr Macron posthumously awarded the officer France's highest honour, the Legion d'Honneur.

Over the weekend it emerged that Lt Col Beltrame married his partner Marielle hours before his death in a ceremony in the hospital in the city of Carcassonne.


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