Air Products CEO and Chairman, Seifi Ghasemi, has said he was “horrified and saddened” after the attack on the company’s facility in L’Isle-d’Abeau, France.
At around 10am on Friday 26th June, Yassine Salhi – who had managed to gain control of a vehicle permitted to enter the facility – drove into a number of cylinders – causing an explosion. He was reprimanded by a fire officer before he was able to do any more damage at the plant and arrested promptly by police.
Before entering the facility it is believed Salhi, who is also understood to have been recognised by staff at the Air Products facility, also attached the decapitated head of his former boss to the perimeter fence around the building.
The transport company owning the vehicle used in the attack by Salhi, also employed him, and was owned by Hervé Cornara – the 54-year-old who it is alleged Salhi murdered.
Reflecting on the events, Ghasemi also expressed appreciation for the assistance and outpouring of support received from around the world, as the company continues to cooperate with the continuing investigation by French and other authorities.
“I am horrified and saddened by the attack on our facility in France. I believe I speak for all of our Air Products family around the world in expressing our deepest sympathies to the family of the victim of this unspeakable act,” said Ghasemi. “My heart also goes out to the people who work at the site and their families. This incident reinforces that we all need to take safety and security very seriously, every day, and remain vigilant in everything we do. I am very glad to know that all of our employees are safe and accounted for.”
“ Security has been increased at Air Products’ locations around the world as a precautionary measure. Soon after the attack, French authorities and emergency services arrived on site, contained the situation, and the site was secured. All individuals working at the site were evacuated. Air Products’ crisis and emergency response teams were activated and are working closely with involved authorities. “
“I would like to express my appreciation for the response of the French and other authorities who reacted so quickly to our need. I would also like to express my deepest gratitude to other companies, customers, elected officials, and many other citizens of the world who have reached out to Air Products with kind words, well wishes, and offers of assistance,” Ghasemi said.
It is unclear at this time the extent of damage to the facility. However, Ghasemi said other facilities are operating normally, and plans are in place for Air Products’ customers who received products from the impacted location to continue to be served.
Salhi remains in police custody while prosecutors continue to evaluate if there was a terrorist link due to ISIS flags being found at the scene and other facts that have been discovered since his arrest.