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Arrests made in connection with Lyon package bomb that wounded 13 | All Charts News - breaking news english

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Date created : 27/05/2019 – 10:52Latest update : 27/05/2019 – 13:20

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced Monday that a suspect has been arrested in connection with a package bomb that wounded 13 people Friday in Lyon. Lyon’s mayor said later that a second man had been arrested.

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Prosecutors said a woman had also been arrested in connection with the attack.

Security camera footage of the incident showed the main suspect wheeling a bicycle to the scene before leaving a bag outside a branch of a popular bakery chain.The man was caught on CCTV cameras but police were unable to get a clear image as he was wearing sunglasses and a cap.

Authorities pulled out all the stops to locate the suspect following the blast in the heart of Lyon, France’s third-largest city. His photo was circulated on Twitter, with two new images late Saturday showing a man wearing a green T-shirt, Bermuda shorts and carrying a dark rucksack. Authorities urged witnesses to call the emergency services if they have any information.

Sources close to the investigation suspected the explosive was acetone peroxide, or APEX, a volatile compound used in the deadly Paris attacks on November 13, 2015.

Paris Prosecutor Rémy Heitz said over the weekend that 90 investigators and 30 police technical experts were working on the case. No one has yet claimed responsibility.

Heitz took charge of the investigation, which he said involved “attempted murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise or association with terrorist criminals”. The Paris prosecutor’s office has jurisdiction over all terror cases in France.

French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said, however, that it was too soon to say whether the blast could be termed a “terrorist act”

Traces of DNA

Traces of DNA were recovered from the rucksack that held the explosive but authorities cautioned that it did not necessarily belong to the suspect. The DNA sample did not match any listed in France’s national DNA index (Fichier national des empreintes génétiques), said a source close to the investigation, confirming information published in the Lyon-based newspaper, Le Progrès.

President Emmanuel Macron initially called the Friday evening explosion an “attack” but later took a more cautious tone with a tweet that condemned “the violence that has struck” the city’s residents.

Eight women, four men and a 10-year-old girl were among the 13 people wounded, 11 of whom needed hospital treatment. None of their injuries were life-threatening, although Heitz said some would have to undergo surgical intervention to remove shrapnel.

He said investigators had recovered small screws, ball bearings and batteries along with a printed circuit and a remote-controlled trigger device, as well as pieces of white plastic that might have been part of the explosive device.

It was placed in front of a bakery near the corner of two crowded pedestrian streets in the historic centre of the city at around 17:30 (1530 GMT) on Friday.

“It’s an area in the very centre of Lyon, a major street,” the city’s deputy mayor in charge of security, Jean-Yves Secheresse, told BFM television.

“These areas are highly secured, the police are continually present”, as were patrols by soldiers deployed in the country’s long-running anti-terror operation, he said.

Lyon and its extensive suburbs are home to some 2.3 million people.

Weak explosive charge

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”.

“There was an explosion and I thought it was a car crash,” said Eva, a 17-year-old student who was about 15 metres (50 feet) from the blast site.

“There were bits of electric wire near me, and batteries and bits of cardboard and plastic. The windows were blown out.”

“I was working, serving customers, and all of a sudden there was a huge ‘boom’,” said Omar Ghezza, a baker who works nearby.

“We thought it had something to do with renovation work,” he said.

France has been on high alert owing to a wave of deadly jihadist terror attacks since the country’s worst such attack in November 2015 in Paris. In total over 250 people have been killed in the terror attacks in France.

The last was in December, when five people were killed and 11 wounded at an attack on a Christmas market in Strasbourg in eastern France.

The last package bomb in France dates back to December 2007, when a blast in front of a Paris law office killed one person and injured another. Police never determined who carried out that attack.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)