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French terror suspect admits to killing his boss

Jean-Pierre Clatot, AFP | Archival photo of French police

The suspected Islamist militant held over an attack against a French chemical plant has admitted killing his boss, a source close to the investigation said on Sunday.

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Yassin Salhi, 35, told detectives he had killed Herve Cornara in a parking area before arriving at the plant in Saint Quentin-Fallavier, 30 km (20 miles) south of Lyon, where he attempted to cause an explosion on Friday, the source told Reuters.

Police found the 54-year-old victim’s decapitated body and head, framed by Islamic inscriptions, at the plant owned by U.S. group Air Products. There were no other casualties.

Examination of one of Salhi’s mobile phones revealed that he took a “selfie” with the severed head before his arrest and sent the image via a messaging application to a Canadian phone number. Canadian police are now investigating.

According to French media reports, Salhi told police he had clashed with his boss as well as his own wife before the killing. One of their work colleagues, quoted on the website of television station i-Tele, also said the two men had argued days earlier after Salhi dropped a pallet of fragile equipment.

The suspect, whose wife and sister are also being questioned, is known to have associated with hardline Islamists over more than a decade and had previously been flagged by French security services as a potential risk.

Earlier on Sunday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the government was increasing resources in law enforcement and domestic intelligence to combat Islamic extremism.

“We cannot lose this war, because it is essentially a war of civilisation,” Valls said in an interview broadcast on Europe 1 radio and i-Tele. “It is our society, our civilisation and our values that we must defend.”

(REUTERS)

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