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Site of explosion in Lyon
Image: Reuters/E. Foudrot

Shrapnel bomb injures people at French bakery

May 24, 2019

At least 13 people were injured when an explosive device went off at a bakery in central Lyon, France's third biggest city. President Emmanuel Macron described it as an "attack."


Police in the city of Lyon were searching for a man believed to be responsible for a Friday blast which injured several people. The explosion targeted a bakery on the central street Rue Victor Hugo, in what French President Emmanuel Macron called an "attack."

"It's not for me to give a toll but it appears there are no casualties," said Macron. "There have been injuries, so obviously I'm thinking of these injured and their families." None of the injuries were life-threatening but 11 people were taken to hospital. There were eight women, a 10-year-old girl and four men injured. 

The man was caught on surveillance video dropping off a package near the bakery. Police described him as a European or North African male in his early 30s, wearing beige Bermuda shorts, an army-green scarf or head wrap and dark glasses. He left the scene on a mountain bicycle.

Police have urged people to avoid the area. Transport authorities said they closed the nearby Ampere-Victor Hugo and Bellecour metro stations.

Read more: Racist or Islamist — lone-wolf attackers show similar patterns

French soldiers deployed to secure the area
French soldiers were deployed to secure the areaImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/S. Erome

Calls for calm 

A police source said the package, which contained "screws or bolts," had been placed in front of the bakery near a busy corner at around 5.30 p.m. local time (1530 UTC).

"There was an explosion and I thought it was a car crash," said Eva, a 17-year-old student who witnessed the blast from the distance of about 15 meters (50 feet).

"There were bits of electric wire near me, and batteries and bits of cardboard and plastic. The windows were blown out," she told AFP.

District mayor Denis Broliquier said it was glass from the windows that caused the injuries.

He said the bakery's fridge "wasn't that damaged, which means the device had low force."

"It's not the apocalypse," he said. "There is no danger, there is no risk."

Read more: Why French police officers keep committing suicide

A policeman looks on near the site of a suspected bomb attack in central Lyon, France
Police have cordoned off the areaImage: Reuters/E. Foudrot

'Reinforce security'

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said he has instructed all police prefects to "reinforce the security of public sites and events." Paris' counterterrorism authority, which has jurisdiction over terrorism incidents throughout France, announced that it has opened a probe into the explosion. 

France has been on high-alert since the "Islamic State" militant group launched a series of attacks across Paris, killing 130 people and injuring scores more.

Lyon, the third-largest French city after Paris and Marseille, is set to host matches in the Women's World Cup football tournament.

Read more: Is France's deradicalization strategy missing the point?

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French police face emergency

ls,dj/jm (AFP, Reuters)

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