A 'homemade' letter bomb has exploded in the Paris offices of the International Monetary Fund, injuring a secretary. IMF chief Christine Lagarde has described the incident as a "cowardly act."
An IMF Paris employee on Thursday suffered burns to her hands and face when a letter she was opening exploded. This came one day after a Greek anarchist group claimed responsibility for a failed letter bomb in Berlin.
Staff were evacuated from the complex as a "precaution," said a police source quoted by The Associated Press.
Armed police and soldiers converged on the area in a chic district of western Paris.
Paris police chief Michel Cadot said the device was homemade, like a "big firecracker." Police had searched all four floors of the building, Cadot added.
Lagarde: 'Cowardly act'
Visiting Germany, IMF head Christine Lagarde described the incident as a "cowardly act of violence."
The explosion "caused injuries to one of our staff," Lagarde said.
French President Francois Hollande said authorities would do all they could to find those responsible.
It is unclear who sent the letter to the IMF offices in western Paris, near the Arc de Triomphe. The World Bank has offices in the same compound.
The IMF has its headquarters in Washington.
France remains in a state of emergency after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks over the past two years.
Scare in Berlin
Thursday's Paris incident followed a scare at Germany's finance ministry on Wednesday.
In that case, an explosive-filled envelope was discovered in the ministry's mailroom and defused.
German police said they believed that that letter had been sent from Greece.
Officials in Athens said they could not verify a claim by a leftist militant group that it had sent the envelope to Germany.
ipj/rt (Reuters, AP, dpa)