Paris: French Public prosecutor Francois Mollins says CCTV footage shows the attacker arriving at a U.S.-owned gas plant in southeast France. The vehicle was authorized to make deliveries to the facility and passed through the gates.
In a news conference Mollins said the assailant rammed his delivery van into a warehouse containing gas canisters, triggering an initial explosion, before being arrested minutes later as he tried to open canisters containing flammable chemicals.
The alleged assailant, Yassin Sahli, reportedly executed the manager of the transport company who was in the van with Sahli.
“Next to the van, the victim’s body was discovered. The body was headless. A knife was found next to the vehicle, the knife is still being examined. Lastly, in an angle which is not covered by the CCTV camera, the victim’s head was discovered attached on the plant’s gate framed by two flags with writing signifying the Shahada, the declaration of faith,” Mollins said.
Sahli was arrested at the scene, and his wife and sister were later taken into custody.
Friday’s assault came as France is still coming to terms with January attacks by Islamist gunman who killed 17 at a satirical weekly and a Jewish food store, and on the same day as deadly attacks were perpetrated in Tunisia and Kuwait.
In the wake of the attack, French President Francois Hollande raised the country’s terror alert status.