• France's news in English

French beheading 'was modus operandi of Isis'

The Local/AFP · 30 Jun 2015, 11:25

Published: 30 Jun 2015 11:25 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A French prosecutor confirmed Tuesday that the man who beheaded his boss and tried to blow up a gas factory in Lyon had a "terrorist motive" and links to the Isis group in Syria.

Yassin Salhi's barbaric attack "corresponded exactly to the orders given by Daesh" (the term used in France for Isis), said Paris chief prosecutor Francois Molins, pointing specifically to the decapitation of his boss Hervé Cornara, 54.

Molins said his attempt to blow up the Air Products gas factory by crashing his car into cylinders "resembled a martyr operation" but that the decapitation of his manager was also motivated by personal hatred.

Giving more details of the barbaric attack at Saint-Quentin Fallavier, near Lyon, Molins said that Salhi, aged 35 and a father of three, left for work that morning armed with a knife and a replica gun.

According to the prosecutor Salhi confessed to "knocking out his employer using a car jack and then strangling him with one hand."

He then stopped by the roadside and decapitated Cornara in the back of his delivery van with a 25cm blade. The prosecutor said examinations could not confirm whether the victim was dead or alive at the time of the beheading.

"Salhi decapitated his victim, he hung the head on a fence to get maximum publicity, as he told us during interrogation," said Molins.

The head was attached to the fence with a chain and surrounded by two Islamic flags which Salhi said he had bought the night before the attack.

"This corresponds very precisely to the orders of Daesh (the Islamic State group)" which calls regularly for acts of terrorism on French soil and in particular to cut the throats of unbelievers.

"The decapitation recalls the habitual modus operandi of this terrorist organisation," said Molins.

Reports emerged over the weekend that Salhi took a sick selfie of him holding Cornara's severed head that he sent to Syria via a relay number in Canada.

On Monday, sources close to the case told AFP that Salhi had denied any "religious motivation" for the attack and suggested it was all due to personal reasons citing disputes with both his boss and wife.

But Salhi was in "regular contact" with the French jihadist Sebastian Yunis, 30, known to have left for Syria last November.

During a raid on those close to Yunis, who is from Besancon in eastern France, police uncovered a telephone used to contact him in which he said in a Whatsapp conversation on the day of the attack that he indeed knew Yassin and was "one of the reasons he did that", referring to the crime.

Story continues below…

Yunis said in the message he had asked permission from the Islamic State group to publish the gruesome photos.

Molins said Salhi had spent a year in Syria in 2009 with his wife and children, claiming he was there to learn Arabic.

The prosecutor confirmed that a legal investigation had been opened on Salhi who is accused of murder with a link to a terrorist organisation.



The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
France given wake up call as it bids for Brexit business
The business district 'La Defense' in Paris. Photo: AFP

France clearly has some work to do if it really wants to pinch business from the UK post-Brexit.

Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
Do you know the French word for throat-support? Photo: AFP

Word of warning: Don't translate French literally.

How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available