- Associated Press - Sunday, June 28, 2015

SAINT-PRIEST, France (AP) - Police wearing masks escorted the man accused of beheading a businessman to the suspect’s home in southeastern France on Sunday to try to find his passport to determine if he traveled abroad, a security official said.

Yassine Salhi, 35, was handcuffed and wearing jeans, a knee-length djellabah robe and a loose towel over his head when judicial police brought him into his residence in the town of Saint-Priest, outside Lyon. The images were broadcast on French TV.

The suspect and police spent a little over an hour in Salhi’s home. It wasn’t immediately clear if police found what they were looking for. Sirens blaring, the police returned him to a Lyon police station where he was initially questioned.

A security official told The Associated Press that police were searching for Salhi’s passport, to determine if he traveled abroad. Another official said he was expected to be transported to France’s counterterrorism police headquarters near Paris later Sunday.

Salhi, a truck deliveryman and father of three with a history of ties to Islamic extremists, admitted earlier to the killing of the manager of the transportation company that had employed Salhi since March, police said.

The suspect allegedly crashed a truck into a U.S.-owned chemical warehouse on Friday, setting off an explosion, and hung his employer’s head on the factory’s gate. He was quickly arrested afterward. Officials say he sent a “selfie” of himself and the victim to a Canadian mobile phone number.

Investigators have found no links to any international terror group in the attack on Friday. After two days in custody for questioning in Lyon, Salhi’s wife and sister were released, a French official said. The officials spoke only on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.

French police on Sunday lifted a 48-hour secure perimeter around the site of the warehouse in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier near Lyon, allowing for the first pictures that show the damage sustained in the blast.

The severed head appeared to imitate a practice of the radical Islamic State group of beheading prisoners and displaying their heads publicly. It came days after the militants urged attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. French authorities say Salhi had links to radical Salafists in the past.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that “we cannot accept barbarity” and estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Salafists - who preach an ultraconservative form of Islam - were present in France.

“We are living under a major terrorist threat, and this terrorist threat is going to last,” Valls said told i-Tele TV. “We should know we’re going to fight this terrorism over the long term.”

Jamey Keaten reported from Paris.

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