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Homemade bomb in Montpellier student housing injures six

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-11-12

At least six people were injured, two critically, when a homemade bomb was set off in a block of student flats at Montpellier University in southern France.

A least six students from Eastern Europe were injured in southern France on Monday when they set off a homemade bomb at a drunken party in a campus accommodation block, officials said.
   
Two of the party-goers were seriously injured in the blast, which appears to have resulted from an experiment during a 20th birthday party rather than from any terrorist intent, according to the Montpellier prosecutor's office.
   
Police said five young men -- two Russians, a Moldovan, a Ukrainian and an Armenian -- and a Ukrainian woman were in the flat when the device exploded at 4.20 am. Another 100 people were evacuated from the building.
   
"From the first results of the enquiry it doesn't seem that we're dealing with terrorists but perhaps with some young people with some background in chemistry, who wanted to test a homemade bomb," prosecutor Brice Robin said.
   
Nevertheless, he added, if clues ended up pointing to criminal intent, his office would hand over the case to the anti-terrorist squad. One of the Russians was from Chechnya, a republic with a history of guerrilla violence.
   
According to emergency personnel, alcohol had been consumed at the party.
   
The student who was renting the flat suffered third degree burns on 50 percent of his body and is in intensive care. A second student suffered a perforated lung. Four more guests received treatment.
   
It is thought that a seventh witness was present and lightly hurt, but fled the scene, police said.
   
Police found potassium nitrate, aluminium powder, caustic soda, nitric acid and sulphuric acid in the flat, all of which are legally on sale in France but which when mixed correctly can form an explosive.
   
The tenant of the third-storey flat was a Montpellier University electrical engineering student who had previously followed a chemistry course and is throught to have been the one who triggered the device, Robin said.
   
The blast enveloped two rooms in flames and blew out all the windows of the flat and those on the floors above and below.

Date created : 2008-11-12

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