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Police find decapitated man in southern France, fear Islamist attack

French police have said a gruesome attack occurred at a factory near the southern city of Grenoble. At least one person has been killed and several injured in what French President Hollande called a "terrorist" attack.

At least one person rammed a car into a factory belonging to the US company Air Products near the southeastern French city of Grenoble and set off small explosions. The company is known for producing industrial gases.

A decapitated head with Arabic writing was found attached to the gate of the factory. Several people were injured in the attack.

The assailant or assailants reportedly carried a flag with Arabic writing. A man suspected of the attack has been arrested and identified, French President Francois Hollande said in a press briefing on Friday.

'Terrorist in nature'

"The intention was obvious. They wanted to trigger an explosion," the French president said. "The attack is terrorist in nature. We first need to voice our solidarity with the victim."

Hollande said a special Cabinet meeting will be held at the Elysee presidential palace at 3:30 p.m. local time (1330 UTC).

The counterterrorism section of the Paris prosecutor's office said it will take on the case and an investigation will be launched for "murder and attempted murder by an organized gang, in connection with a terrorist enterprise," according to the AFP news agency.

Frankreich Anschlag bei Grenoble

Police prevented vehicles from entering the industrial area following the attack

'Radicalized' suspect

Speaking near the scene of the attack, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters that the suspect was being followed in 2006 after contacting groups associated with the Salafist movement and being "radicalized."

In 2008, the suspect fell off French intelligence service's radar, but resurfaced in 2010. However, Cazeneuve noted that at the time there was insufficient evidence that he was engaged with terrorist elements.

The interior minister added that flags had been recovered and were in the process of being translated from Arabic in order to discern their content.

Cazeneuve also said security had been heightened at "sensitive" sites. More information regarding the suspect would be provided later Thursday since "we are still trying to apprehend others," the interior minister said.

Friday's attack came nearly six months after terrorist attacks at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris left 17 people dead.

Firemen and police were immediately deployed to protect businesses around the factory, Reuters news agency reported.

ls/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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