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AFP
May 26, 2019

Police hunt suspect after Lyon bomb ‘attack’

Top Story

AFP
May 26, 2019

LYON: Police in France were on Saturday hunting a suspect following a blast in a pedestrian street in the heart of Lyon that lightly wounded 13 people two days ahead of hotly contested European Parliament elections.

President Emmanuel Macron called the Friday evening explosion, from a package believed to have been packed with shrapnel, an “attack” and sent interior minister Christophe Castaner to Lyon.

Police issued an appeal for witnesses on Twitter as they sought the man believed to be in his early 30s, who was picked up by security cameras on a mountain bicycle immediately before the explosion. An image of the suspect, wearing light-coloured shorts and a longsleeved dark top, was posted. He was described as “dangerous”.

Justice minister Nicole Belloubet told BFM television it was too soon to say whether the blast was a “terrorist act”. The case was nonetheless handed to the Paris prosecutor for anti-terrorism that deal with all terrorist cases.

The number of wounded stood at 13 people, with 11 taken to hospitals. None of the injuries was life-threatening but included eight women and a 10-year-old girl as well as four men. A police source said the package contained “screws or bolts”. It had been placed in front of a bakery near a busy corner of two crowded streets at around 17.30 pm.

District mayor Denis Broliquier said “the charge was too small to kill,” and an administrative source told AFP it was a “relatively weak explosive charge” that was triggered at a distance. The blast occurred on a narrow strip of land between the Saone and Rhone rivers in the historic centre of the southeast city. The area was evacuated and cordoned off by police.

The attack upended last-minute campaigning ahead of France’s European Parliament vote on Sunday (today) with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe cancelling his appearance at his centrist party’s final rally Friday night.

A terrorism probe was opened by the Paris prosecutor’s office, which has jurisdiction over all terror cases.

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