Two men disguised as deliverymen entered the grounds of an industrial factory near Lyon, France, beheading one man and throwing gas canisters said a local who witnessed the attack. At least one explosion also occurred when a vehicle crashed with the factory and dozens were reportedly injured. The attack took place in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, some 20 miles from Lyon and 50 miles from Grenoble in southeastern France at 10 am local time. The US-owned Air Products factory has some 21,000 employees and sells gases including oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen.
French security has initiated a terrorist investigation after finding that the head of the decapitated man was placed on a fence and a flag bearing Arabic script was found at the incident site. A witness claimed the victim of the beheading was not an employee of the factory. One arrest has been made, of a man described as being in his 30s, who was being monitored by French intelligence even prior to the attack. According to local news the man had ties to an extremist Salafi movement, and a security file was opened in 2006 but not renewed in 2008. The suspect currently in custody by French authorities has thus far refused to speak according to police.
President Francois Hollande of France speaking from an EU summit in Brussels remarked, "The attack bears the hallmarks of a terrorist attack, ... there is emotion but emotion cannot be the only response. We need action and dissuasion. We must not cede to fear." Hollande also recalled the extremist attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper offices that killed 17 civilians in Paris earlier this year. The French Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced that security would be increased at sensitive sites in and around Lyon in response to the incident. A spokesperson from Downing street stated, "Details are still emerging, so we wait to see those. But it clearly looks an extremely concerning situation and our thoughts are with all those affected by it."