French factory attack: Suspect denies terror links


Terror accused, Yassin Salhi, has denied allegations that his attack on an American owned gas factory and decapitation of his boss had any religious connotations.

The 35-year old father of three was taken into the custody minutes after ramming his van into a warehouse filled with canisters at the office of Air Products in the small town of Saint-Quentin-Fallavier near Lyon last Friday morning.

A subsequent blast injured two people while the severed head of Salhi’s boss, Herve Cornara, which had been covered in Islamic drawings, was found hanging from a security fence between two flags reportedly making reference to the Islamic State (ISIS). His body was later discovered in the back of the van.

Salhi has however told investigators that his actions had no jihadi traits and that it could be attributed to arguments he had with his wife and Cornara in the days leading up to the attack.

Over the weekend, investigators also revealed that Salhi had posed for a selfie with his boss’ severed head, before sending the image via WhatsApp to a Canadian number reportedly belonging to a Frenchman living in Syria.

Paris based prosecutor, François Molins, however said the attack’s similarities with those committed by ISIS reveals terror motives.

In an article by French newspaper, The Local, Molins stated that Salhi had confessed to stopping the van on-route to the factory, knocking Cornara out with car jack before strangling and cutting his head off with a 25 cm blade.

“Salhi decapitated his victim, he hung the head on a fence to get maximum publicity. This corresponds very precisely to the orders of Daesh (the French term for ISIS) which calls regularly for acts of terrorism on French soil and in particular to cut the throats of unbelievers,” Molins was quoted as saying.

The article also named the alleged the recipient of the selfie as 30-year old French jihadi Sebastian Yunis, who left the country for Syria in November last year.


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