A man suspected of decapitating his boss in a French suburb near Lyon might have taken a selfie with the severed head. A source close to the investigation told the Agence France-Presse the image was sent by Yassin Salhi, 35, to a number in North America via the WhatsApp messaging system.
French newspaper Le Monde said Saturday the phone number is Canadian, but may have relayed to another location outside of Canada. If Salhi sent an image of his alleged actions to Canada, it would suggest he has at least one contact across the Atlantic Ocean who might be supportive of his actions.
Some unconfirmed reports suggest the recipient was in Syria. Officials haven’t acknowledged the image publicly, but the Associated Press cited two anonymous French officials as saying they were working to identify the recipient of images found on the suspect’s phone.
Salhi is believed to have been inspired by radical Islamist ideology to kill his boss, cut the man's head off, and hang the head on a fence along with the black flag used by Islamic State militants. (Warning: graphic photo).
Authorities said Friday Salhi, a delivery van driver for a chemical factory, killed his boss and then tried unsuccessfully to cause a massive explosion. Police said Salhi shouted “Allahou Akbar” (God is great) as he was arrested. Video footage shows a man believed to be Salhi placing the severed head on a fence.
A local newspaper identified the victim as Hervé Cornara, 54. The paper, Le Progres, said about 200 people showed up Saturday in front of Cornara’s home in Fontaines-sur-Saône, near Saint-Quentin-Fallavier where the attack took place, to pay silent homage to the victim of an apparent jihadist-inspired terrorist attack. “We are all with Hervé,” said Thierry Pouzol, mayor of Fontaines-sur-Saône.