Hostages Taken at French Supermarket

A gunman in the town of Trèbes, in southwest France, said he was acting on behalf of the Islamic State.

PARIS — A gunman opened fire at a supermarket in southwestern France on Friday, killing at least two people and taking hostages, an attack that has rattled nerves in a country that has been the site of several terrorist attacks in recent years.

The armed man entered a Super U market in Trèbes, about 50 miles southeast of Toulouse, claiming to be acting on behalf of the Islamic State group, although his connection to the militant group was unclear.

The attack came after a group of four plainclothes police officers in the neighboring city of Carcassonne were followed by an armed man in a car who shot at them, according to Prime Minister Édouard Philippe. One officer was wounded, but his life is not at risk, Mr. Philippe said.

President Emannuel Macron linked the two episodes, saying that the attack in Trebes “was first an attack against police officers.” Speaking at a news conference in Brussels, where he was attending a European Union summit meeting, Mr. Macron said, “we believe that it is indeed a terror attack.”

Gérard Collomb, the interior minister, said in a Twitter post Friday afternoon that the hostage taker had been killed by the police, but he then quickly deleted the post.

Frédéric de Lanouvelle, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told the BFMTV news channel that at least two people had been killed in the supermarket.

He did not comment on the number of hostages who were held inside, although French news reports suggested most of the employees and shoppers had managed to get out.

Mr. de Lanouvelle said the assailant had seemed “sympathetic” to the Islamic State, but he added that could not confirm reports that the attacker was asking for the liberation of Salah Abdeslam.

Mr. Abdeslam, the sole surviving member of the Islamic State group that killed 130 people in and around Paris in a series of coordinated attacks in Nov. 2015, is in detention in France.

 The Paris prosecutor’s office, which handles terrorism cases nationwide, said that a terrorism investigation had been opened and that the Paris prosecutor was heading to Trèbes. Gérard Collomb, the interior minister, was also traveling to the scene

Mr. Philippe, speaking from the eastern city of Mulhouse, said: “All of the information we have at the moment suggests that this is a terrorist attack.”

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