What we know about the France factory attacker

What we know about the France factory attacker
Police on the scene of the attack on Friday. Photo: AFP
An "Islamist terrorist" carried out a shocking attack in eastern France on Friday, which saw one victim "abjectly decapitated" and others injured. Here's what we know about the suspect, so far.
The suspect was caught and arrested after driving a vehicle into a gas factory in Isere, causing an explosion as he crashed his car into canisters.
 
At some point in the attack, one person, whose identity remains unknown, was decapitated and several were injured.
 
The attacker has been named by the Interior Minister as Yassin Sahli (spelling unconfirmed), a 35-year-old man from Saint-Priest, the fourth biggest suburb of Lyon.
 
His partner has already spoken to the media, telling French channel Europe 1 that the suspect was a delivery driver who went to work as normal at 7am on Friday morning, but didn't return home in the early afternoon as expected.
 
She said that it felt as if her "her heart was going to stop" when she learned that he was the suspect. She added that hers was a "normal Muslim family" living a "normal family life".
Attentat en Isère : "j'ai le cœur qui va s'arrêter", confie la compagne du suspect http://bit.ly/1J9ARc6 

Sahli was carrying two flags during the attack which featured the banners of Middle East terror group Isis. He is also understood to have scrawled Arabic messages on the head of his victim.
(Photo: AFP)
 
Later the French PM Manuel Valls confirmed what most suspected from the very beginning, that the attack was motivated by Islamist extremism.
 
It remains clear if Sahli acted alone, or indeed if he had an accomplice in the car.
 
Sahi was born in Pontarlier in eastern France near the Swiss border. He also has lived in Saint-Priest, the fourth biggest suburb of Lyon.
 
 
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed that authorities opened a "fiche S" file on the man in 2006 for radicalisation. A "fiche S" for which the S stands for "Sûreté d'etat" means he had been identified as a possible danger and should be watched. The file was not renewed after two years, suggesting he was no longer considered a risk. 
 
He had no criminal record.
 
Cazeneuve has said that the man had a "link" to Salafist movement, but was not implicated directly in any terrorist activities. The Salafi movement is a group within Sunni Islam, which is often associated with literalist approaches to Islam.
 
Commentators have noted that the man fits a similar profile to others who have been involved in or attempted terrorist attacks in France - a young man, known for links to extremism but not considered a high enough risk to place under direct surveillance.
 
Cherif Kouachi, one of the pair behind the Charlie Hebdo attack, was also known to terrorist police but not followed, as was Amedy Coulibaly, who was behind the deadly shooting at the Jewish Kosher store in Paris.
 
Authorities have said that Sahli has so far refused to speak whilst being questioned by police. 
 
(Photo: AFP)

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