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French police hunt man who planted explosive device in Lyon, release surveillance photos

French police hunt man who planted explosive device in Lyon, release surveillance photos
By: Fox Posted On: May 27, 2019 View: 7

French police hunt man who planted explosive device in Lyon, release surveillance photos

French police said they were hunting for the man accused of leaving a paper bag containing a device that exploded in the city of Lyon on Friday, wounding 13 people on a busy pedestrian street.

France’s anti-terrorist office opened an inquiry into the blast and Remy Heitz, the anti-terrorism prosecutor, went to Lyon. The interior minister also was on site Friday, and soldiers secured the area.

Heitz said an investigation has been opened for an “attempted murder in relation with a terrorist undertaking” and “criminal terrorist association,” as The Guardian reported. He added that no group had yet claimed responsibility for the explosion.

On Saturday, French police tweeted a picture of the man who they believed was responsible for the explosion. French officials said the man was captured by surveillance cameras and was seen on a bicycle, wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap.

Surveillance cameras captured the suspect in the explosion, police said.

Surveillance cameras captured the suspect in the explosion, police said. (Police Nationale)

Heitz described the video surveillance, saying it showed the suspect biking toward the center of Lyon on Friday afternoon, the Guardian reported. Heitz said the man was seen pushing his bike along the pedestrian-only Victor Hugo Street, then leaving the paper bag on a concrete block in the middle of the street near a bakery.

Heitz said the man then immediately returned to his bike and left on the same path. One minute later, he said, the explosion shattered the glass of a refrigerator in the bakery.

The explosion happened around 5:30 p.m. at the bakery chain Brioche Doree in Lyon’s central Presqu’ile area, which lies between the Rhone and Saone rivers that run through France’s third-largest city.

SUSPECTED PACKAGE BOMB WOUNDS AT LEAST 7 IN FRANCE'S LYON: POLICE

Investigators at the scene said they found screws, batteries, and a triggering device that could be used remotely, The Guardian added.

The newspaper reported that police described the suspect as “dangerous” and asked the public for help finding him.

A vehicle belonging to French anti-terror investigators near the site of the attack in central Lyon on Friday.

A vehicle belonging to French anti-terror investigators near the site of the attack in central Lyon on Friday. (AP Photo/Sebastien Erome)

“What I saw was a refrigerated cooler in the Brioche Doree, whose windows had been shattered. It was the windows ... that superficially injured the people who were 1, 2 or 3 meters (yards) away,” Denis Broliquier, the district mayor, told French television news station BFM-TV. He added that he arrived at the scene just minutes after the explosion.

“But, the fridge itself wasn’t that damaged, which means the device had low force,” Broliquier said, downplaying the incident.

He added, “It’s not the apocalypse ... There’s no danger. There’s no risk.”

French President Emmanuel Macron called the explosion an “attack” during a live interview about the European Parliament elections running through Sunday.

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The mayor and Macron sent their sympathies to the injured, some of whom were rushed to a hospital.

Macron tweeted on Friday, “Tonight I think of the wounded from the explosion in Lyon, to their families affected by the violence that has befell on their relatives in the street, and to all the Lyonnais. We are at your side.”

French anti-terror soldiers securing the area near the attack site in central Lyon on Friday.

French anti-terror soldiers securing the area near the attack site in central Lyon on Friday. (AP Photo/Sebastien Erome)

A man living above the bakery told BFM-TV the noise from the explosion was “deafening” but it didn’t cause the walls to shake. He said a window had shattered and debris was scattered on the street.

Some people sustained leg injuries and no injuries were life-threatening, French officials told The Associated Press.

French officials initially said eight people were wounded, but later lowered the figure to seven. However, regional authorities said 13 people were hurt, mostly suffering minor injuries, and said 11 were still in the hospital on Saturday morning, as the Guardian reported.

France has experienced a spate of attacks in recent years, some of them deadly, carried out by people ranging from extremist attackers to the mentally unstable. In an attack on a Christmas market in eastern France last December, five people were killed. The attacker, Cherif Chekatt, who was killed by police, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terror group.

In response to the explosion, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner tweeted that he has sent instructions for Lyon authorities to strengthen “the security of public sites and sporting, cultural and religious events.”

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The Women’s World Cup soccer tournament is scheduled to start in France on June 7. Lyon is set to host the semifinals, and then the final on July 7.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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