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French terrorist attack had 'Islamic State' hallmark, says prosecutor

A French prosecutor has confirmed that the decapitation at a Lyon factory had links to the "Islamic State" ("IS") terrorist group. The main suspect, Yassin Salhi, is being investigated on terrorism charges.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said on Tuesday that the attack carried out by the 35-year-old on Friday "exactly" followed the methods of the jihadist militant group.

"Last Friday corresponded very precisely to the orders of [the 'Islamic State'] group and resembled a martyr operation," Molins said, adding that the attack had also been motivated by Salhi's personal hate for his boss.

According to French authorities, Salhi, who worked at a US-owned chemical warehouse, decapitated his employer on Friday and hung the victim's head on the fence of the Air Products plant near flags displaying the Muslim profession of faith. He then rammed a truck into gas canisters on the site, setting off an explosion.

Molins said on Tuesday that Salhi also sent two photos of selfies with his employer's corpse to someone in Syria.

The father of three admitted his crimes to police on Sunday.

France was the victim of a jihadist-linked attack less than six months ago. Seventeen people were killed over three days in January after gunmen targeted the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris. The Yemen-based terrorist cell Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) later claimed responsibility for the massacre.

Economic consequences for Tunisia

In a separate attack on Friday, 38 people were killed in the Tunisian beach resort of Sousse after an Islamist gunman disguised as a tourist opened fire on holiday makers at the Imperial Marhaba hotel.

Tunisian authorities have stepped up security in the holiday hotspot with 1,000 armed officers due to be deployed on July 1.

Tunisia's tourism minister, Salma Loumi, said late on Monday that the country expected to see loss of at least $515 million (460 million euros) this year as a result of the fatal attack.

"If tourism collapses … the economy falls apart," Loumi said.

ksb/kms (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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