Survivors and families of victims of Friday’s terror attack in France attended a special mass to honor the four killed and three wounded, including an officer who swapped himself with a hostage in a supermarket in the southwestern town of Trebes.
The Bishop of Carcassonne and Narbonne Alain Planet celebrated mass, during which he praised the “extraordinary devotion” of Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame.
“I am here to share in people’s mourning, but also to warm myself to their profound solidarity. This event was also an opportunity to see an extraordinary act, extraordinary devotion by [Lieutenant] Colonel Arnaud Beltrame,” he said. “The whole of France has been touched by this, we were too, especially the Christian community, as he was one of ours. And at the start of this holy week, when we look at Christ take our place to save us from death, well his act takes on a whole new meaning and I’m sure he was aware of that when he did what he did.”
Planet said Friday’s events offered an opportunity to reflect on the suffering felt by countless people around the world.
After French President Emmanuel Macron said evidence suggested the gunman’s actions were considered terrorism, the Islamic State militant group’s propaganda arm claimed responsibility.
The Paris prosecutor’s office said counterterrorism authorities have assumed control of the investigation.
French authorities say two people have been arrested in connection with the shootings, including a woman who is reported to have been close to the assailant.
Islamic State extremist attacks have killed more than 200 people since 2015.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump denounced Friday’s attack in France in a message on Twitter Saturday.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the horrible attack in France yesterday, and we grieve the nation’s loss,” the president wrote, adding “We also condemn the violent actions of the attacker and anyone who would provide him support. We are with you @EmmanuelMacron!”