French: Decapitated man was a local employer

In this screen grab taken from video provided by I Tele, emergency services at the scene outside a factory where a man was allegedly beheaded, in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, France, Friday, June 26, 2015. French authorities have opened an investigation after an attack and explosion at a gas factory that left one person decapitated and several wounded. Banners with Arabic inscriptions were found near the body, an official said. (I Tele via AP)
In this screen grab taken from video provided by I Tele, emergency services at the scene outside a factory where a man was allegedly beheaded, in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, France, Friday, June 26, 2015. French authorities have opened an investigation after an attack and explosion at a gas factory that left one person decapitated and several wounded. Banners with Arabic inscriptions were found near the body, an official said. (I Tele via AP)

PARIS (AP) – The latest on the attack in southeastern France (all times local):

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2:45 p.m.

A French security official says the man whose severed head was found hanging at the gate of an American gas factory that was attacked in France has been identified as a local businessman.

A car rammed the factory gate Friday in southeastern France and plowed into gas canisters, touching off an explosion. A decapitated body and flags with Arabic writing were found at the entrance.

The security official, who was not authorized to speak to the media and requested anonymity, said the victim was the head of a local transportation company and was believed to have been killed before the explosion. His name was not released.

Authorities had said his body was found near the site of the attack.

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2:15 p.m.

Air Products says all its employees are accounted for after an attack on a factory in southeastern France. It has not confirmed whether its staff were among the two people reported injured and one dead. The company says in a statement that all employees have been evacuated from the site, which is secure.

It says “our crisis and emergency response teams have been activated and are working closely with all relevant authorities.”

Air Products, which is based in the U.S., makes gases used by a wide range of industries, including food production, medicine and the oil and gas. It has more than 20,000 employees in 50 countries, mostly in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

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This item has been corrected to show that the attack was in southeastern France, not southwestern France.

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1:45 p.m.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says multiple people are in custody after an attack on a gas factory that left one person dead.

A severed head was posted at the factory’s entrance and Cazeneuve said authorities are still trying to identify the victim.

“People who could have participated in this abject crime are in custody after having been arrested,” he told journalists.

The attack began when a car crashed the gate and plowed into gas canisters, touching off an explosion at the factory near Lyon on Friday morning.

Cazeneuve said the suspect was believed to be from the area and had been flagged in 2006 for ties to Islamic extremists, but surveillance was dropped in 2008.

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1:30 p.m.

France’s top security official says a man arrested in the attack at a gas factory in southeastern France was known to intelligence services for possible ties to Islamic extremists but had no arrest record.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says the investigation has just begun and cautioned against jumping to conclusions.

The suspect had been flagged as an extremist in 2006 and then police monitoring dropped off two years later, according to Cazeneuve.

A car crashed the gate and plowed into gas canisters, touching off an explosion, at the factory near Lyon on Friday morning. The decapitated body of a person was found at the scene.

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1 p.m.

France’s president says a suspect in what he called a “terrorist” attack at a gas factory in southeastern France has been arrested and identified.

Francois Hollande, speaking in Brussels, said one person was killed and two wounded in the attack, which began shortly before 10 a.m. Friday when a car crashed the gate and plowed into gas canisters, touching off an explosion.

Hollande said one suspect has been arrested and indicated that a second attacker might have been involved.

He was returning to France and called a high level defense council meeting for Friday afternoon.

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12:30 p.m.

A security official says a decapitated head was found posted on the gate at the entry to the gas factory that came under attack Friday in southeastern France.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release details to the media, said the torso was found near the site of the explosion but that the victim was not decapitated by the blast.

Two flags, one white and one black and both with Arabic inscriptions, were found at the scene.

The official said police were searching for anyone else possibly involved in the attack. France’s interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, has arrived at the scene.

– By Lori Hinnant

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11:55 a.m.

French authorities have opened a terrorism investigation after an attack and explosion at a gas factory that left one person decapitated and several wounded.

Banners with Arabic inscriptions were found near the body, an official said.

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor swiftly opened an investigation.

Details of the attack were sketchy but two French officials said it began midmorning in the Isere region when two men crashed a car into the entrance of the factory and into gas canisters, touching off the explosion. One attacker was arrested, they said.

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11:30 a.m.

A French security official says an attack and explosion at a gas factory in southeastern France has left one person dead.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she wasn’t authorized to talk to the news media, said the dead person was found decapitated outside the entrance to the factory.

France’s top security official was rushing to the scene. The official said two attackers arrived in a car, bearing banners written in Arabic, and set off an explosion. One of the attackers was arrested.

– By Lori Hinnant

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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