The 35-year-old suspect in the ISIS beheading in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier in Isere has been named. French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve named the suspect as Yassin Sahli, 35, of the city of Lyon, close to where the attack took place. He has been arrested and taken into police custody. On the morning of June 26, it’s believed that Sahli rammed his car into the premises of the Air Products gas plant and beheaded one man while injuring two others. Two flags of ISIS as well as Arabic writing were found close to the crime scene.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. French Terror Cops Stopped Watching Sahli in 2008
In identifying Sahli, Cazeneuve said that the suspect was under surveillance from French anti-terror cops but that Sahli had done anything to warrant an arrest. The minister said that the file had been opened on Sahli in 2006 but was not renewed after 2008. Sahli is linked to the Salafi movement, a Sunni Islamist group, reports Le Monde. According to the New York Daily News, the movement is “the fastest-growing Islamic movement in Europe.”
2. Sahli Was Taken Down by a Firefighter
Local reports indicate that the victim of the beheading was a prominent local businessman in the mountain town of Grenoble. President Francois Hollande has described the incident as a “terrorist attack.” Hollande added that he stands in “solidarity in face of terrorism” with Tunisian leader Beji Caid Essebsi after the terror attacks in North Africa which occurred at the same time. Authorities believe that it was Sahli’s plan to blow up the building. Le Monde reports that Sahli suffered head injuries during his apprehension. The paper says he was “neutralized by a firefighter.” Caroline Politi of L’Express tweeted that the full extent of Sahli’s injuries are unknown.
3. One of His Neighbors Screamed ‘It Is Not Islam’ When He Learned of the Attack
Local newspaper Le Dauphine Libere reports that Sahli lived in the Lyon suburb of Saint-Priest. He is married with three children. Outside his home, a neighbor told Le Monde “It is not Islam! It is not Islam!” Another neighbor told the paper “It was the hello goodbye, especially with women, we did not see him, he went to work and came home late. Discrete people, we know the view. Their kids played with ours, mundane people … who would have thought?”
4. Sahli’s Wife Said ‘We’re Normal Muslims’
His wife told the radio station Europe 1, via the Daily Mirror, “I don’t know what happened, have the arrested him? He left for work at seven this morning. He does deliveries. He didn’t come home between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. and I was waiting for him. My sister-in-law said ‘put on the TV.’ Then she began to cry. My heart stopped…We have a normal family life. He goes to work, he come back. We are normal Mislims. We do Ramadan. We have children and a normal family. I don’t understand.”
5. The Man Believed to Have Been Sahli’s Lookout Has Also Been Arrested
A second suspect relating to the beheading has also been arrested. That person is thought to have been a lookout.