French terror suspect 'sent image of beheading to Syria'

A French forensic team on the site where the severed head of the victim was found, 26 June 2015
A French forensic team on the site where the severed head of the victim was found, 26 June 2015 Reuters/Ruben Sprich

The suspect in the attack on an industrial chemical plant in southeastern France has confessed and was to be transferred to Paris Sunday for further questioning by anti-terror police. Meanwhile, a legal source told French news agency AFP on Sunday that Yassin Salhi, 35, had sent a selfie of the beheading to someone in Syria through an online messaging service.


Canadian authorities had been assisting in the investigation after it emerged that Salhi had sent the image to a Canadian phone number. But officials had warned that the WhatsApp message could have been sent to a relay number and that the intended recipient could be anywhere in the world.

Salhi, a deliveryman and married father, drove his van into the American-owned Air Products factory near Lyon on Friday in what President Francois Hollande has described as a "terrorist" attack designed to blow up the building.

After a blast that damaged the warehouse and destroyed the roof and back of the vehicle, police discovered the severed head of Salhi’s boss, 54-year-old Herve Cornara, attached to the gates of the plant near two flags that prosecutors say had the Muslim profession of faith written on them.

He was overpowered by a firefighter on the scene and arrested.

The assault came six months after the Islamist attacks in and around Paris that killed 17 people starting with a shooting at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Salhi had been known to security services for a number of years and had been investigated for links to radical Salafists.

A memorial was held Saturday for Cornora, 54, in his hometown Fontaines-sur-Saône.

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