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Package explodes outside Indonesian embassy in Paris

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-03-21

A suspicious package was flagged moments before it exploded outside the Indonesian embassy in western Paris early on Wednesday, causing serious damage to surrounding buildings but no casualties, police said.

AFP - A bomb blast outside Indonesia's embassy in Paris on Wednesday caused serious damage to surrounding buildings but no injuries, police said, as investigators sought a motive for the attack.

"It's a small miracle that there were no victims," a police source said.

The bomb exploded around 5:45 am (O445 GMT), when the streets of western Paris were relatively quiet, blowing out windows in a 50-metre (54-yard) radius and setting fire to two cars.

Police chief Michel Gaudin visited the scene after the blast, accompanied by his chief of staff, who told reporters that a bag had been spotted under the embassy's windows by a worker clearing bins in the street.

"He looked inside the bag, opened it and thought it must be a bomb since he saw a canister attached to wires. He dropped it, left the area and called the police. That's when it exploded," Jean-Louis Fiamenghi said.

"No one was hurt but there are people in shock in neighbouring flats."

Fiamenghi said the bomb could have contained "several kilos of explosives".

No group or individual immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Police and firefighters were rushed to the area and sealed off the road where the blast occured. A bomb disposal team was also in place to make any remaining explosives safe.

"For now we are not ruling out any possibilities, we are just at the very beginning of the investigation, every theory needs to be studied," a police source said.

In Jakarta, officials said Indonesia's intelligence agency was working with French authorities to investigate, but that the motive for the bombing was not clear.

"We're still looking for clarity on whether we were the target or not," said Teuku Faizasyah, Indonesian presidential spokesman on foreign affairs.

"In the mid-2000s there was a case of a small bomb explosion at the Indonesian embassy in Paris. It turned out to be a local incident, and nothing to do with a national threat," he added.

Coordinating Security Minister Djoko Suyanto told AFP: "This is being investigated by the Indonesian embassy in Paris with coordination with local authorities."

"We don't know the target of the bomb. The ambassador is at the location but he can't go near.

"The windows were broken but there's no report yet of Indonesian or staff casualties. We are still waiting for developments," he added.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said the blast would have no impact on Indonesia's diplomatic activities in France.

"We're quite a resilient lot, Indonesians. No, I don't think it takes a little explosion to deter us from going on with the business of our activities," he said. "But we will be very vigilant obviously."

He also said it was not known whether the embassy had been targeted, adding: "Thankfully, no one has been injured as a result of this explosion."

Date created : 2012-03-21


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