1 killed, several injured in France suspected terror attack
An attacker carrying an ISIL flag has killed one person and injured several others at a gas factory in eastern France, according to a source.
The attacker entered the factory in the Isère region near Grenoble in southeast France, and set off several small explosive devices, the source said on Friday. A decapitated body was found nearby, another source added.
The severed head was reportedly impaled on the gates of the factory, located in the small town of Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, which lies around 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Lyon.
The attack reportedly occurred around 10:00 a.m. local time (0800 GMT). One suspected attacker has been arrested.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve identified the suspect as Yacine Salhi, saying the suspect arrested in connection with the attack has links to the Salafist movement. Salhi is known to have lived in the area of Lyon, the country’s second largest city.
Initial findings of an inquiry suggest one or several individuals on board a vehicle drove into the factory, owned by American group Air Products, said another source.
“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,” said one of the sources, adding that a “flag with Arabic writing on it was found on the scene.”
Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande, who was in Brussels for a summit of EU leaders, described the assault on the factory as a “terrorist attack.”
“The intent was without doubt to cause an explosion. It was a terrorist attack,” Hollande said in a statement to the press in Brussels.
The French leader further said, “This attack was in a vehicle driven by one person, perhaps accompanied by another,” adding, “The individual suspected of committing this attack has been arrested and identified.”
Earlier, French officials said Hollande was to return home early from the EU summit on Friday following the incident.
“He will return early this afternoon and is in constant contact with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and the security services,” an official said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who is on an official trip in South America, has ordered tightened security measures at all sensitive sites in the area.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said he would go “immediately” to the scene, his office said.
Spain and Germany denounced as “heinous” the fatal attack on the gas factory in neighboring France.
The incident comes nearly six months after the attacks in and around Paris that killed 17 people in January and started with a shooting at the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, in the French capital city.
Two brothers attacked the satirical magazine, killing 12 people at the time. A policewoman and four hostages in a supermarket were also killed during the three-day attacks.
The attacks sparked demonstrations in Paris and other cities marches “against terrorism.”