Paris: A man was beheaded and several others injured on Friday in a suspected Islamist attack on a gas factory in Isere, in the Rhone-Alps region of France, which was declared a “terrorist” act by President Francois Hollande, media reports said.
Several small explosive devices were also set off at the Air Products factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near the French city of Lyon, and the alleged attacker was said to have been carrying an Islamist flag, which was found nearby, Xinhua reported citing sources.
One person who had no ID papers and has refused to speak to anti-terrorism police was arrested, officials said.
Hollande, who was in Brussels for a European Council meeting, declared it a “terrorist” attack and was returning to Paris to head an emergency meeting of the security committee following the deadly attack.
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed that Hollande would meet the concerned ministers and top military and security chiefs at 3 p.m.
“Unfortunately, a new terrorist attack occurred,” Le Drian was quoted as saying by local media.
According to French newspaper Le Dauphine Libere, a man was seen driving back and forth in front of the target building earlier in the day.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls has ordered tight security nationwide.
According to earlier reports by The Local news portal, apart from the decapitated man, several others were also injured in the attack.
In a statement, Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins, said a probe was ordered for murder and attempted murder in an organised group in relation to terrorism, and added that anti-terrorism police was investigating the attack.
Alain Juppe, the mayor of Bordeaux, condemned the attack in a tweet.
“The terrorist threat is at a maximum,” he said, adding that France “must make every effort to protect its citizens”.