Man beheaded, several injured in Islamist attack on French gas factory

A terrorist attack on a French factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier left one person killed and two injured, the country’s president confirmed. The victim was reported to have been beheaded at the gate of the site.

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The attack in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier near Lyon in eastern France was initially reported by local newspaper Le Dauphiné libéré. A single assailant stormed the factory compound in his car and detonated gas canisters that he had brought with him, the report said.

The attacker reportedly waived an Islamist black flag, possibly that of terrorist group Islamic State. The flag was left at the site. The headless body of a man was found near the factory.A French official later said the head was found at the entry gate of the factory and that two Islamist flags were found nearby.

The victim of the beheading was a manager of a local transport company, and the boss of one of suspectYassin Salhi.A source told Reuters that the two had gone to the company's premises together to make a delivery, but that the suspect killed and decapitated the victim before driving the vehicle onto the site.

Some media said the head had been left on the facility’s fence.According to Agence France Presse, a source close to the case said the decapitated head was found covered with Arabic inscription.

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Police ordered the evacuation of the factory in the wake of the assault.The factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier is a French subsidiary of the US-headquartered Air Products. Among the gas and chemical products the company lists on its website are potentially dangerous substances, such as hydrogen, wielding and cutting mixtures.

Salhi was detained by police in connection with the attack and is being interrogated. According to French prosecutors, the case is investigated by the anti-terrorist section.

Police believe the goal of the attack was to set off a massive explosion at the site.

The arrested suspect didn’t have a criminal record, but was identified as a possibly radicalized individual, Interior Minister Cazeneuve said, adding thatthe suspect had a 'link' to Salafist movement.

A second male suspect in the attack was reportedly arrested hours later. Salhi's wife was also arrested near Lyon.

Francois Hollande called on the French not to give in to emotion and pledged to do everything to protect the people. He cut short his trip to an EU meeting in Brussels in the wake of the attack.

The French prime minister has ordered tighter security on sensitive locations after the attack in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier.

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In January, France was shocked by a brutal massacre at the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly carried by radical Islamists. The attack that claimed 12 lives was followed by related incidents that brought the total death toll to 20.