Sun, Jun 28, 2015 - Page 6 News List

Prime minister of France says incident will be ‘exploited’


French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said yesterday that France could be facing more attacks to come after a grisly killing in which a suspect allegedly pinned the severed head of his boss to the gates of a gas factory.

The alleged assailant, identified as 35-year-old married father-of-three Yassin Salhi, also caused an explosion by smashing his vehicle into an Air Products factory near France’s second city of Lyon.

The person killed, a 54-year-old local businessman, was found with Arabic inscriptions scrawled on him and Islamic flags were also found on the site at the small town of Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, about 40km from Lyon.

His head was “hung onto the fence surrounded by two Islamic flags bearing the Shahada, the profession of [the Muslim] faith,” French prosecutor Francois Molins said.

Valls said Friday’s attack would create tension in France that “will be exploited.”

“It’s difficult for a society to live for years under the threat of attack,” he told reporters on a flight to France from Bogota, adding: “The question is not ... if there will be another attack, but when.”

This is the first time someone in France has been found beheaded by a suspected Muslim terrorist, a method of killing that has become a trademark of the Islamic State group, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Salhi had been known to security services for a number of years, but did not have a criminal record, French Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve said.

Sources close to the investigation said the person killed ran a delivery company that employed Salhi.

Molins said Salhi, his wife, sister and another man had been taken into custody.

The second man is being investigated on terrorism-related charges, but his link to the attack is not clear and Molins said there was no indication that Salhi had an accomplice with him during the assault.

A woman identified as Salhi’s wife told French radio: “On the news they are saying that it’s a terrorist attack, but that’s impossible. I know him, he’s my husband.”

Salhi drove into the factory at 7:28am GMT and disappeared from the view of security cameras until 7:35am, when they picked up the van accelerating toward one of two hangars, Molins said.

A minute later a massive blast was heard. Firefighters arrived at the site minutes later, where they found the suspect inside one of the hangars, which contained bottles of gas, liquid oxygen and highly explosive acetone.

“Firefighters surprised the suspect while he was busy opening bottles of acetone,” Molins said.

The blast destroyed part of the hangar and severely damaged the delivery van, which Molins said was sign of “a significant explosion.”

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top