Hollande says police killings an attack on France

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French President Francois Hollande Monday denounced the killing of two policewomen as an “attack” on the nation as officials said a young mason arrested was the likely perpetrator. The gendarmes, aged 29 and 35, were intervening in a dispute on Sunday following a petty theft in the southeastern village of Collobrieres when the accused knocked down one of them, grabbed her gun and killed her and then the other, investigators said. “It’s a tragedy… it’s the Republic which has been attacked,” Hollande said in a statement as the killings sent shockwaves across the country, adding: “I learnt of the deaths with great sadness.” The man was arrested early Monday near Collobrieres after a massive manhunt involving more than 300 men, including a special operations military unit, and a helicopter.