Terrorist Attack Hits U.S.-Owned Chemical Plant In France | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: June 26, 2015

Terrorist Attack Hits U.S.-Owned Chemical Plant In France

Plant Security: One dead, two injured at an Air Products gases facility near Lyon
Department: Business
Keywords: terrorist, attack, plant, France
Police guard an Air Products facility in France hit by a terrorist attack.
Credit: STR/EPA/Newscom
Three police officers outside of a chemical facility.
Police guard an Air Products facility in France hit by a terrorist attack.
Credit: STR/EPA/Newscom

A suspected Islamist extremist attacked an Air Products & Chemicals industrial gases plant early on June 26 in L’Isle-d’Abeau, near Lyon, France. Onlookers told radio reporters that one man crashed a car traveling at high speed through the gates of the site and then into gas canisters, causing an explosion. The man has been arrested and the site locked down.

Inside the car, French police report that officers discovered a decapitated body with a message written on it. The head of the person was reportedly attached to the factory fence along with an Islamist flag.

Two other people were injured in the attack, said French President François Hollande in a press briefing. No further details were given about their condition. “There is absolutely no doubt about this that the intention was to cause an explosion,” Hollande said.

It is unclear whether the individual who was killed was from inside the chemical complex, although Air Products says all of its personnel at the site have been evacuated and accounted for.

The site is secure, Air Products tells C&EN. The firm has put into action a set of planned crisis procedures. “Our crisis and emergency response teams have been activated and are working closely with all relevant authorities,” the firm says. Police have been brought into the area to ensure there is no further security threat.

France’s interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, identified the suspect who was arrested as Yassine Salhi, who lives in St.-Priest, near Lyon. He is known to security sources as having connections to Salafists, an Islamic fundamentalist organization, but surveillance of him was dropped in 2008.

The incident at the plant was one of three attacks by suspected Islamist terrorists today. Thirteen people have been reported killed in an attack on a mosque in Kuwait, and at least 28 people were reportedly killed at a vacation resort in Tunisia. Whether the three attacks are part of some coordinated operation is a possibility authorities say that they are investigating.

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