PARIS - The top suspect in the beheading of a French transportation company manager admitted to the killing that authorities have called a terror attack, officials said Sunday.
Yassine Salhi, a truck deliveryman and father of three with a history of ties to Islamic extremists, made the admission while in police custody in the southeastern city of Lyon before being transferred Sunday in a convoy of official vehicles to counterterrorism police headquarters outside Paris.
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.
The three were arrested on Friday after Salhi allegedly crashed a truck into a U.S.-owned chemical warehouse, setting off an explosion, and hung his employer's head on the factory's gate. Officials say he sent a "selfie" of himself and the victim to a Canadian mobile phone number.
French police on Sunday lifted a 48-hour secure perimeter around the industrial site, allowing the first pictures showing 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.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Sunday "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."