Explosion, decapitated body at French industrial site

PARIS - Unknown persons rammed a car into the premises of a US gas company in southeast France on Friday, exploding gas containers in an apparent attack which bore the hallmarks of Islamist militants and left one dead and several wounded, police sources and French media said.

French media said a decapitated head was found at the site, along with a flag bearing Islamist inscriptions. A police source said he could not confirm the decapitation but said it look as if it was the case. One suspect had been arrested, a local official told BFMTV television.

If confirmed as an attack, it would be the second major such incident in France this year, coming after Islamist gunmen killed 17 people in January in attacks on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly and a Jewish food store.

The site belonged to Air Products, a US-based industrial gases technology company, according to a spokeswoman for Air Liquides, a French company in the same sector.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was heading to the site in the town of Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, around 30 km (20 miles) southeast of the city of Lyon.

Local newspaper Le Dauphine said a severed head was found stuck on the site's wire fence. The paper also reported that a car forced its way on to the grounds of the company shortly before 10 am (0800 GMT) and spun around trying to hit gas containers.

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