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Arnaud Beltrame: France bids farewell to heroic policeman

Arnaud Beltrame: France bids farewell to heroic policeman

"We can not prohibit an idea", Philippe told parliament on Tuesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron planned to address a national memorial ceremony Wednesday for Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame, a police officer who swapped himself for a hostage in the supermarket and was killed.

His coffin, draped in the tricolour, was escorted through the capital ahead of a state funeral with full military honours.

While some have voiced support for the decision, saying that by reducing the age to 3 it will help their children to feel more accepted in society, others are wary.

The attacker also died, and 15 others were wounded in the attack.

The move to make preschool obligatory is meant to help children in French overseas territories and in poor communities on the mainland remain competitive in the education system, Macron said.

Along with the police officer, Lakdim shot dead the passenger of a vehicle he hijacked in Carcassonne and two people in the supermarket he had besieged in Trebes.

French police officers and investigators are seen March 23 at a supermarket after a hostage situation in Trebes.

Beltrame gave up his weapon and offered to be exchanged for hostages, leaving his mobile telephone line open so the forces outside could hear what was happening.

Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame had his throat cut by the supermarket attacker. Beltrame was found with bullet wounds to an arm and foot and a grave knife wound to the neck.

The priest rushed to the hospital after the attack to find him still alive but unconscious.

Colleagues of Beltrame have paid tribute to the gendarme's sense of duty, calmness under pressure and a generosity which inspired those serving beside him. "We have no giants in these fields", a presidential adviser said.

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. But he had recently received a summons from the DGSI spy agency and was to be informed he was no longer viewed as a security risk, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said.

Macron, who pledged in January a "restructuring of Islam in France", had already signalled his determination to clamp down on Salafist mosques and imams.

Both a French and Moroccan national at first, he was then naturalized as a French citizen in 2004 when he was 12, following his father's naturalization.

"We can punish the behaviour it provokes, if it disrupts the public order, the country's laws or the minimum standards of social life", Philippe said, garnering widespread applause from lawmakers.

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