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Sunday 24 September 2017

Ceremony held in honour of police officer killed in Paris terror attack

The coffin of slain police officer Xavier Jugele is carried in the courtyard of the Paris Police headquarters (AP)
The coffin of slain police officer Xavier Jugele is carried in the courtyard of the Paris Police headquarters (AP)
A portrait of slain police officer Xavier Jugele is pictured at the Paris Police headquarters (AP)

France's top officials have joined presidential candidates at a national ceremony held in honour of the police officer killed by an Islamic extremist on the Champs-Elysees.

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron, who will contest the May 7 presidential run-off, were present at the ceremony for Xavier Jugele at the Paris police headquarters.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo and former president Nicolas Sarkozy also paid their respects to Mr Jugele.

French president Francois Hollande hailed the 37-year-old officer, who was killed last week when an assailant opened fire with an assault rifle on a police van parked on the most famous avenue in the French capital. Two other officers were wounded.

The attacker was subsequently shot and killed by officers. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mr Hollande said the French people must "support the police", adding: "They deserve our esteem, our solidarity, our admiration."

In a message to the presidential candidates, Mr Hollande also asked France's future government to "provide the necessary budget resources to recruit these indispensable people to protect our citizens and give them the means to act even more efficiently".

Mr Hollande recalled that France's police and military forces are deployed on French territory and abroad to fight terrorism in Iraq, Syria and Africa's Sahel region.

He said this is "a combat that will last, a combat that will be fought until the threat is definitively over. That combat will be long, demanding, difficult - but, I am certain, victorious".

Mr Jugele was one of the officers who raced to the Bataclan concert hall the night three armed men with suicide bombs stormed a show and slaughtered 90 people on November 13 2015.

He returned to the concert venue a year later as a spectator when it reopened with a concert by Sting.

Mr Jugele told People magazine at the time how happy he was to be here "to celebrate life. To say no to terrorists".

The officer was also a member of a French association of LGBT police officers, and was in a civil union.

In a speech during the ceremony, his partner, Etienne Cardiles, said: "Let's stay dignified, let's take care of peace and preserve peace."

Mr Jugele had worked in the Paris area as a police officer since 2011. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Paris police department's public order and traffic division.

He had received praise from bosses earlier this year for his courage during the evacuation of a building after an accidental blast in the western suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt.

Mr Jugele has been promoted to police captain and awarded the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour posthumously.

AP

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