The policeman killed in last week’s extremist attack in southern France has been honoured in an elaborate, daylong national homage led by French President Emmanuel Macron.
The tribute came as questions were raised about possible failures by French counter-terrorism officials in tracking the gunman, who was on a radicalisation watch list before he went on a rampage on Friday.
Mr Macron delivered a patriotic public eulogy calling for national solidarity after last week’s attack, which together with myriad other extremist attacks on French soil have claimed over 200 lives since 2015.
The officer died of his wounds on Saturday morning, hours after swapping himself for a hostage during a siege in a supermarket near the city of Carcassonne.
After inspecting troops at the monument as a military band played a stirring rendition of the French national anthem, the Marseillaise, Mr Macron posthumously awarded Mr Beltrame the Legion of Honour, France’s highest award.
The tribute provided a national focal point for grief, even as questions were growing about possible mistakes made by the French security services regarding Mr Beltrame’s killer, Redouane Lakdim.
But Mr Collomb maintained there were no “dysfunctions” in the tracking of Lakdim, who also killed three other people before he was shot dead by police.
Moroccan authorities have also questioned France’s handling of Lakdim’s case.
Since the attack, the agency — created three years ago to consolidate counter-terrorism efforts — has been investigating Lakdim’s family members in Morocco, Abdelhak Khiame told The Associated Press.
Lakdim visited Morocco several times, most recently in February 2012, before the establishment of the Islamic State, Mr Khiame added.