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French terror suspect who beheaded boss commits suicide in jail

Police officers escort Yassin Salhi near Lyon on June 28, 2015.
Police officers escort Yassin Salhi near Lyon on June 28, 2015. Reuters/Emmanuel Foudrot
2 min

A Frenchman who killed his boss and pinned his severed head to a fence at an industrial gas factory has committed suicide in his jail cell, prison authorities said on Wednesday.

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35-year-old Yassin Salhi hanged himself from the bars of his cell using his bed sheets on Tuesday night, according to authorities at Fleury-Merogis prison, in the southern suburbs of Paris.

Salhi, who was a driver and deliveryman, had carried out the attack on employer Herve Cornara in Isere, southeastern France in June, displaying his boss's head outside the plant surrounded by Islamic flags.

He tried to blow up the facility but was arrested and remanded in custody.

Salhi had been placed in solitary confinement but was not considered a suicide risk. He had always disavowed any religious motive for his crime, but prosecutors were pressing charges of Islamic-related terrorism.

The married father-of-three was born in the eastern French town of Pontarlier, near the border with Switzerland, to a father of Algerian origin and a mother with a Moroccan background.

According to a source, Salhi caught the attention of intelligence authorities in 2005 and 2006 because he was socialising with a group of people associated with radical Islam.

Intelligence services investigated him for a few years thereafter, but did not renew their inquiry in 2008.

- with AFP

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