Residents of the small community of Trèbes in Southern France gathered in church to mourn and offer prayers to the victims of the recent supermarket shooting which killed four people. Hundreds of mourners, including the town’s mayor Eric Menassi, crowded the small Church of Saint-Etienne, reports BBC.

An Islamist gunman hijacked a car and took hostages at the Super U supermarket on March 23, 2018. One French policeman, Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame, took the place of a female hostage and was mortally wounded during the siege. The 44-year-old gendarme died from shot and stab wounds a day after the attack.

One resident claimed that they are “having trouble recovering.” People think that if a terrorist act happened in a rural area such as theirs, then terrorism could happen anywhere, to anyone.

Church leaders and political heads hailed Beltrame as a sacrificial hero, likening his noble actions to that of a saint.

Richard Lizurey, head of the French police, said, “It’s a heroic act. In fact an exceptional act, carried out in the heat of action. We are proud. Proud to have counted Arnaud Beltrame among us.”

“A life that has been given cannot be lost,” said Bishop Alain Planet of Carcassonne and Narbonne at a memorial Mass in Trèbes. He added, “It transcends hardship so as to unite us together. It calls to us to believe that life is stronger than death, in hope, of which our fraternity will be the sign.”

Members of the local Muslim community attended the special Palm Sunday service. The bishop said, “Your presence tells us that the creators of hatred will not win.”

Trèbes is a small town of 6,000 people where everyone knows everyone. The jihadist attack left the community traumatized by the violence, reports Euronews.

One resident claimed that they are “having trouble recovering.” People think that if a terrorist act happened in a rural area such as theirs, then terrorism could happen anywhere, to anyone.

Meantime, a Christian called for prayers for the victims of the hostage-taking and the families they left behind. A wife of a pastor, Elizabeth, urged Christians to pray and to trust God most especially during trying times.

“Jesus did warn us there will be trouble and war and all sorts of disturbing news right ’til the end of time,” she said in an interview with Premier. “We just pray for opportunity to share the love of Jesus and his message of hope to people.”

Sources:
BBC
Euronews
Premier

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