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France attack: Decapitation victim was suspect’s boss

France attack: Decapitation victim was suspect’s boss

A man thought to be the person who carried out the attack has been arrested, according to sources close to the enquiry, who said he was known to the security services.



By (AFP)

Published: Fri 26 Jun 2015, 4:04 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:59 PM

Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, France — The man decapitated in an attack Friday on an industrial gas factory in eastern France was the boss of the suspect now in police custody, legal sources said.

The head of the victim, who ran a delivery service, was found pinned to the gates at the American-owned Air Products factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier. 

His body was found inside the factory, the site of what French President Francois Hollande called a terrorist attack.

Yassin Salhi, 35, is suspected of driving one of the delivery service’s vehicles into the factory grounds during the attack.

Though access to the facility is restricted because it contains dangerous substances, the delivery company had clearance to enter. 

Earlier it was reported that a suspected attacker had pinned a decapitated head covered with Arabic writing to the gates of a gas factory in eastern France on Friday before being arrested, police said.

The suspect entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, the source said.

Police said it was unclear whether the attacker was acting alone, or had accomplices.

“According to the initial findings of the enquiry, one or several individuals on board a vehicle, drove into the factory. An explosion then took place,” said one of the sources.

“The decapitated body of a person was found nearby the factory but we do not yet know whether the body was transported to the place or not,” added this source, adding that a “flag with Arabic writing on it was found at the scene.”

A man thought to be the person who carried out the attack has been arrested, according to sources close to the enquiry, who said he was known to the security services.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said he would go “immediately” to the scene, his office said.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls ordered increased security measures at all sensitive sites in the area.

The attack, which occurred around 10:00 am local time (0800 GMT), according to local media, came nearly six months after the extremist attacks in and around Paris that killed 17 people in January that started with a shooting at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Two brothers attacked the satirical magazine, killing 12. A policewoman and four hostages in a supermarket were also killed during the three-day attacks.

Earlier this week, the country passed a controversial new spying law granting sweeping powers to snoop on citizens.

The new French law allows authorities to spy on the digital and mobile communications of anyone linked to a “terrorist” inquiry without prior authorisation from a judge, and forces Internet service providers and phone companies to give up data upon request.

Intelligence services will have the right to place cameras and recording devices in private dwellings and install “keylogger” devices that record every key stroke on a targeted computer in real time.


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