France terrorist attack suspect took selfie with beheading victim
Sources close to the investigation told AFP that the alleged picture message was sent via the WhatsApp messaging application by Yassin Salhi shortly after he cut off his boss’ head.
While Le Monde reported the number to be Canadian, some unconfirmed reports suggest that the recipient could have been in Syria when the gruesome selfie was sent out. Two anonymous French officials told AP, that they are working on tracking down the recipient.
So far no official international link to possible terror groups has been established by the authorities.
Canada has confirmed being involved in the case, but has refused to share the details of the investigation.
“While I cannot comment on operational matters of national security, we are assisting the French authorities with their investigation,” Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, a spokesman for Canada's Public Safety Minister said.
Friday’s terrorist attack on a French factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier left one person dead and two injured, after the suspect rammed his vehicle into an area containing flammable liquids, causing an explosion.
The site of the actual beheading is not yet known to investigators, but the victim had likely been strangled beforehand. Police found the head of the victim dangling from the plant’s fence, framed by black flag used by Islamic State militants.
After Salhi’s arrest at the Air Products factory, his wife and sister, as well as an unknown fourth suspect, were also taken into custody. A spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office said that one of the four suspects detained over the attack has been released.
During his detention the 35-year-old shouted “Allahou Akbar” (God is great), according to police. According to prosecution, the suspect is now cooperating with the authorities, after initially refusing to speak.
Salhi is believed to have been radicalized after contact with a man suspected of preparing attacks in Indonesia with Al-Qaeda militants in the early 2000s, a source in the investigation told the AFP. He had been investigated in the past about his alleged links with Islamist militants, but had no criminal record.
French President Francois Hollande held a security meeting with ministers on Saturday. “We have no doubt that the attack was to blow up the building. It bears the hallmarks of a terrorist attack,” Holandes said.
Hollande's office meanwhile has announced that the president will convene a meeting with top parliamentary leaders about the matter on Tuesday.
Speaking after a ministerial meeting Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve vowed that the government would “continue to work relentlessly” against terrorism.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned Saturday that France faced the possibility of more attacks to come.
“It's difficult for a society to live for years under the threat of attack,” he told AFP on a flight back from Bogota, adding, “the question is not ... if there will be another attack, but when.”
The government raised the security alert level to the maximum across the country in response to the attack, as hundreds gathered in the town of Saint-Quentin-Fallavier to observe a minute's silence.