Saturday, June 27, 2015

French PM: More Muslim terrorist attacks in France are coming

Special forces of France’s Research and Intervention Brigades (BRI) leave the building housing the apartment of a man suspected of carrying out an attack in Saint-Priest near Lyon on June 26, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZES)
Valls says more terrorism in France not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when'; police interrogate suspected killer.
SAINT-QUENTIN-FALLAVIER, France (AFP) — French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned Saturday that France faced more attacks to come after a grisly killing in which a suspected Islamist pinned the severed head of his boss to the gates of a gas factory.

Valls said Friday’s attack would create tension in France — home to Western Europe’s largest Muslim population — that “will be exploited”.

“It’s difficult for a society to live for years under the threat of attack,” he told AFP on a flight back from Bogota, adding: “The question is not… if there will be another attack, but when.”

French police interrogated the man suspected of the killing on Saturday as they tried to piece together the attack.

“Jihad Nauseum” headlined France’s Liberation newspaper, warning of a new peak in the “global guerilla war launched by Islamist fanatics.”

The suspect, Yassin Salhi, 35, is being held by French police for causing an explosion by driving a delivery van into a warehouse containing bottles of dangerous gas and chemicals at the US-owned Air Products factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, some 25 miles from Lyon.

Firefighters overpowered Salhi before discovering the decapitated body of his 54-year-old boss — who ran a delivery firm — near the car, along with a knife. The victim’s head was pinned to a nearby fence. He was found with Islamic flags and Arabic inscriptions scrawled on him.

The grisly killing came on the same day as two other attacks claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group, which left 38 people dead at a beach resort in Tunisia and 27 in a suicide bombing in Kuwait.

This is the first time someone in France has been found beheaded by a suspected Islamist, a method of killing that has become a trademark of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

It also came nearly six months after the Islamist attacks in and around Paris that left 17 people dead, starting with a shooting at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Speaking in Brussels after cutting short an EU summit, French President Francois Hollande labelled the factory beheading “a terrorist attack,” adding that “the intent was without doubt to cause an explosion”.

Salhi had been known to security services for a number of years but did not have a criminal record, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

He had been investigated for links to radical Salafists but had never been identified as planning an attack.

A co-worker described him as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” to RTL radio, adding that Salhi had spoken to him about Islamic State — “not to try recruit me for anything but simply to ask my opinion.”