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No claim of responsibility for Lyon bomb attack

Jeff Pachoud, AFP | Police officers set a perimeter in front a 'Brioche Dorée' bakery before Lyon mayor's visit on May 25, 2019, the day after a suspected package bomb blast along a pedestrian street in central Lyon, France.

No claim of responsibility has yet been made for the bomb attack in Lyon on Friday that left at least 13 people injured, French anti-terrorism prosecutor Remy Heitz at a press conference on Saturday.

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The package bomb left 13 people wounded, with 11 taken to hospital. Those hurt included eight women, a 10-year-old girl, and four men.

None of the injuries the victims sustained is life-threatening.

A nationwide manhunt is underway for the suspect, with the police issuing an appeal for witnesses of the suspect along with a photo [below] caught on CCTV. The man is believed to be in his early 30s, was wearing light-coloured shorts a long-sleeved dark top, and riding a mountain bike in the area immediately before the explosion.

Paris prosecutor Heitz said they have not been able to identify the man thought to have planted the device, who was spotted on CCTV footage, as he was wearing sunglasses and a cap.

The anti-terrorism prosecutor said new photographs of the suspect would soon be released.

A terrorism probe has been opened by the Paris prosecutor's office, which has jurisdiction over all terror cases in the country.

President Emmanuel Macron called the explosion that happened Friday, apparently from a package packed with shrapnel, an "attack" and sent his interior minister, Christophe Castaner, to Lyon.

The country's justice minister, Nicole Belloubet, told BFM television it was too soon to say whether the blast was a "terrorist act".

‘Screws and bolts in package’

A police source said the package contained "screws or bolts" and was placed in front of a bakery near a busy corner of two popular streets at around 17:30 pm (1530 GMT) on a sunny Friday evening.

The area was promptly evacuated and cordoned off by police and emergency services.

The blast occurred on the narrow strip of land between the Saone and Rhone rivers in the historic centre of the southeast city. Lyon is the third-biggest city in France with a population of 2.3 million.

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

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

A huge 'boom''

"I was working, serving customers, and all of a sudden there was a huge 'boom'," said Omar Ghezza, a baker who works nearby.

"We though it had something to do with renovation work. But in fact it was an abandoned package," he said.

"It's an area in the very centre of Lyon, a major street," the city's deputy mayor in charge of security, Jean-Yves Secheresse, told BFM television.

"These areas are highly secured, the police are continually present," as were patrols by soldiers deployed in the country’s long-running anti-terror operation, he said.

High alert

France has been on high alert since a wave of deadly jihadist terror attacks struck the country starting in 2015, leaving more than 250 people.

The most recent package bomb in France dates back to December 2007, when an explosion in front of a law office in Paris killed one person and injured another. Police never found the perpetrator.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

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