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More Than A Dozen Wounded in France “Bomb Attack”

LYON – In a pedestrian street in downtown Lyon, French President Emmanuel Macron called Friday “attack” an attack after the device has injured more than a dozen people just two days before the parliamentary elections in the European Parliament, AFP reported Saturday.
The police were looking for a man suspected of being in his early thirties on a mountain bike, witnesses and security cameras saw in the area immediately before the explosion.
The number of injured was 13, including 11 were taken to hospitals, said a source close to the investigation. None of the injuries were life threatening.
A police source said the package contained “screws or bolts”. It was placed in front of a bakery near a busy corner of two popular streets around 17:30 (15:30 GMT) on a sweet spring evening.
The explosion occurred on a narrow strip of land between the Saone and the Rhone, in the historic center of the southeastern city. The area was evacuated and cordoned off by the police.
“There was an explosion and I thought it was a car accident,” said Eva, a 17-year-old student who was about 15 meters from the blast site.
“There were bits of wire near me, piles and pieces of cardboard and plastic, windows were blown,” he said.
Macron, in a live interview on Facebook, said: “It’s not for me to give the number of casualties, but it seems there are no deaths, there have been injuries, so I think to these wounded and their families.”
The attack ended the last-minute campaign in anticipation of the European Parliament vote on Sunday with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe canceling his appearance at the last rally of his centrist party Friday evening.
An investigation into terrorism has been opened by the Paris prosecutor’s office, which is responsible for all terrorism cases in the country. The Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castener, was going to Lyon.
“An eight-year-old girl was injured (…) We are quite relieved because apparently there were no serious injuries, but we are convinced that it was an explosive device”, said Denis Broliquier, mayor of the city, Second district.
He added that the suspect wanted by the police had been seen by video surveillance cameras.
Shortly after evacuating the area, police expanded the security perimeter after two abandoned bags were discovered in a children’s park in nearby Bellcour Square, although teams of deminers later determined that they were harmless.
“I worked, I served clients, and suddenly there was a huge boom,” said Omar Ghezza, a baker working nearby.
“We thought it had something to do with the renovation, but in reality it was an abandoned package,” he said.
France is on maximum alert following a wave of deadly jihadist terrorist attacks since 2015, which killed more than 250 people.
“It’s a neighborhood in the center of Lyon, an important street,” said Jean-Yves Secheresse, deputy mayor of security, television BFM.
“These areas are highly secure, the police are present all the time”, as well as the patrols of soldiers deployed as part of a long-term anti-terrorist operation, he said.
Lyon is the third largest city in France. The population of the city and its extensive suburbs is 2.3 million.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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