French Police Hunt Suitcase Bomber After Blast in Lyon

May 24, 2019 Updated: May 24, 2019

LYON—French police were hunting a suspected suitcase bomber on Friday after an explosion in the central city of Lyon that injured 13 people, officials said.

The suspect was captured on security video leaving a bag in front of a bakery shortly before an explosion occurred at around 5:30 pm, police sources and local mayor Denis Broliquier said.

Most of those hurt were hospitalized for treatment to leg injuries that were described as light.

President Emmanuel Macron characterized the incident as an “attack” when the news broke during a live YouTube interview ahead of Sunday’s European elections. “My thoughts are with the injured,” he said.

Police officers, fire fighters and medics are seen near the site of a suspected bomb attack in central Lyon
Police officers, fire fighters and medics are seen near the site of a suspected bomb attack in central Lyon, France, on May 24, 2019. (Emmanuel Foudrot/Reuters)

Paris anti-terrorism prosecutors opened an investigation as police said they were treating the blast as an attempted homicide, and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner headed to the scene.

The partially masked suspect appeared in security camera footage wheeling a bicycle to the scene, before leaving a bag outside a branch of Brioche Doree, a popular bakery chain.

Police sources described the suspected attacker as a European or North African male, seen wearing beige Bermuda shorts, an army-green scarf or head wrap and dark glasses.

Police officers, fire fighters and medics are seen near the site of a suspected bomb attack in central Lyon
Police officers, fire fighters and medics are seen near the site of a suspected bomb attack in central Lyon, France, on May 24, 2019. (Emmanuel Foudrot/Reuters)

Soon after he left, the blast rained metal bolts on passersby in front of the premises on rue Victor Hugo, several blocks from the city’s main station, according to police.

Police forces across France have been instructed to increase security in public places and event venues, Castaner said.

By Catherine Lagrange, Emmanuel Jarry, and Marine Pennetier

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