In France, 1 Beheaded, Several Hurt

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SAINT-QUENTIN-FALLAVIER: At least one suspected militant launched a daylight raid on a gas factory in eastern France on Friday, pinning a decapitated head to the gates and injuring at least two others with explosive devices.

“The intent was without doubt to cause an explosion. It was a terrorist attack,” said President Francois Hollande in Brussels, cutting short an EU summit to hold emergency meetings in the French capital.

Hollande said a vehicle driven at high speed by “one person, maybe accompanied by another” smashed into the factory, around 40 kilometres from Lyon, France’s second largest city.

“At the time I am speaking, there is one dead and two injured,” said a grim-faced Hollande, calling for “solidarity” for the victim, who was found with Arabic inscriptions on him.

The 35-year-old attacker, identified as Yacine Salhi, had been known to security services for a number of years but did not have a criminal record, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said. He was taken into custody and an anti-terrorist probe has been launched, Cazeneuve added.

Referring to the man whose decapitated body was found after the attack, Cazeneuve said that the man killed in the attack was “an innocent victim who was … abjectly decapitated,” and that the victim was in the process of being identified.

The gruesome killing came nearly six months after the attacks in and around Paris that left 17 people dead and started with a shooting at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

“A flag with Arabic writing on it was found at the scene,” said Cazeneuve, and the text was being translated.

‘Link’ to Salafist movement

The attacker had a “link” to the Salafist movement, Cazeneuve added, stressing that the investigation was in its early stages.

The suspect was investigated nine years ago for radicalisation and has links to the Salafist movement, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

“He was investigated in 2006 for radicalisation, but (the probe) was not renewed in 2008. He had no criminal record,” Cazeneuve said.

“This individual has links with the Salafist movement, but had not been identified as having participated in activities of a terrorist nature,” added the minister who rushed to the scene in eastern France.

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