A man was beheaded in a suspected Islamist terror attack in southern France

A screengrab from local television at the scene.
A screengrab from local television at the scene.
Image: AP Photo
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Updated 7:30am ET

A man was decapitated, and several other people were injured, in what appears to be a terrorist attack on a factory near Lyon, in southern France.

The attack took place around 10am local time. In addition to the beheaded body found near the scene, the attackers were apparently carrying “Islamist” flags and tried to blow up the factory by ramming a vehicle into several gas canisters.

“The attack bears the hallmarks of a terrorist attack,” president François Hollande said in a statement. “A decapitated body was found with inscriptions written on it.” He said that two people were injured. He will soon leave an EU summit in Brussels to return to France.

French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that a suspect was arrested, who he named as Yassim Salhi. The man was known to the authorities, and had been previously identified as possibly radicalized.

“The persons who have taken part in this hideous crime are under arrest,” he said. “The identification of the victim is still underway.”

The attack began when a car crashed into the entrance of a chemical factory in Saint Quentin Fallavier, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) southeast of Lyon, triggering explosions.

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation into the incident, according to the Associated Press. French prime minister Manuel Valls, who is on a trip to South America, called for tighter security at other “sensitive sites” near the factory.

Reuters reported that the site is owned by Air Products, a US-based industrial and chemical firm, and that the company’s chairman and CEO was born in Iran.

The incident comes six months after an attack in Paris on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a supermarket in which 17 people were killed by three man with links to terrorist groups.

Le Monde and Le Dauphiné Libéré are liveblogging the incident in French; The Guardian and the BBC are posting updates on the situation in English.