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French PM Édouard Philippe leads funerals for victims of Trèbes supermarket siege

Pascal Pavani, AFP | French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe stands by as French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb lays a white rose on a coffin of one of the three people killed in a terrorist attack in the town of Trèbes on March 29, 2018.

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe and senior French government figures attended funerals on Thursday for the four victims of last week's gun rampage in southern France.

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The ceremonies took place Thursday in the quiet Aude region, the site of a deadly carjacking, shooting and supermarket hostage-taking in the towns of Carcassonne and nearby Trèbes.

PM Philippe spoke to families of the victims and local residents in Trèbes as the funeral convoys of Hervé Sosna, Christian Medves and Jean Mazières arrived and their coffins were placed on display in a large town square.

Mazières, 60, was killed by attacker Redouane Lakdim during a carjacking in Carcassonne, the first attack to take place last Friday. Medves, 50, was shot and killed when Lakdim took hostages in the Super U supermarket in Trèbes, where Medves worked as a butcher. Construction worker Sosna, 65, was shopping in the supermarket when the deadly siege occurred.

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"You fell under the bullets of terrorism and took with you the insouciance of a little town in Occitanie, where no one ever expected to experience such things," Trèbes Mayor Eric Menassi told the mourners gathered Thursday.

A private religious ceremony was held later for slain gendarme Arnaud Beltrame in Carcassonne, to be followed by a burial in the cemetery of Ferrals-les-Corbières.

On Wednesday, France offered a national homage to Beltrame, a lieutenant colonel, who was given a posthumous Legion of Honor distinction for his heroism as he tried to negotiate with the attacker by swapping himself for a hostage in Trèbes.

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(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)

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