Police hunt cycling suspect over Lyon parcel bomb blast that injured 13
New CCTV images of the man suspected of being behind a parcel bomb attack in Lyon, France, have been released by police.
At least 13 people including an eight-year-old girl were wounded in the suspected terrorist attack, with police hunting a man in his 30s.
A massive explosion was heard just after 5.30pm on a busy street in the city centre, and a man on a bicycle was seen placing a bag on the ground just moments before.
The images show a man, in his mid-30s, on a bike wearing sunglasses cycling around the city.
Eleven victims were rushed to hospital from the scene of the attack outside a bakery in the Victor Hugo square, but their injuries were not thought to be life threatening.
A terrorism probe was opened by the Paris prosecutor‘s office, which has jurisdiction over all terror cases in the country.
Police issued an appeal for witnesses on Twitter as they sought the man believed to be in his early 30s, who was picked up by security cameras on a mountain bike immediately before the explosion.
‘Anti terrorist officers are at the scene along with other police,‘ said a spokesman for the local emergency services.
‘A man in his mid 30s was seen placing a possible parcel bomb, and a hunt has been launched to try and find him.‘
The suspected bomber had his head covered and was wearing dark glasses, but was caught on CCTV.
‘He was wearing a dark top and Bermuda shorts,‘ an officer added. ‘Municipal cameras would have caught him on his bike.‘
‘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 site of the blast.
‘There were bits of electric wire near me, and batteries and bits of cardboard and plastic. The windows were blown out,‘ he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron interrupted a TV interview about the European Parliament elections to announce: ‘There‘s been a bomb attack in Lyon, there are injuries‘.
‘A girl aged eight is among the injured,‘ said local police union spokesman Alain Bardelis.
‘There was a crowd movement after the man was scene placing the bags on the ground.
‘The blast was on the corner of Victor Hugo and Sala streets, which have now been blocked off.
‘Military and police forces are on the streets, along with anti-terrorist officers.‘
Another witness living in a flat on Victor Hugo said: ‘We heard a monstrous noise, and our windows came in. We could see that people were running everywhere down below. I saw people wounded.
‘The explosion was from the pavement in front of the bakery. We‘ve heard it was a bomb packed with nuts and bolts.‘
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President Emmanuel Macron called the blast an ‘attack‘ during a live Facebook interview, adding that no deaths had been reported ‘for the time being.‘
‘It‘s not for me to give a toll but it appears there are no casualties. There have been injuries, so obviously I‘m thinking of these injured and their families,‘ Macron said.
David Kimefeld, president of the metropolis of Lyon, said: ‘I condemn with the utmost firmness the bomb attack that took place in the late afternoon Rue Victor Hugo in Lyon.
‘My first thoughts go to the victims and their families. I salute the courage of firefighters who mobilized very quickly to help the victims.
‘This barbaric act reminds us that the fight against terrorism is a daily battle and that we must never relax our vigilance.‘
The cause of the blast wasn‘t immediately known, said Kamel Amerouche, the regional authority‘s communications chief.
Amerouche told The Associated Press the victims had leg injuries that weren‘t life-threatening.
He said the explosion occurred in or outside a store of the bakery chain Brioche Doree and the area had been cordoned off by police.
Live television images of the street showed the Brioche Doree sign intact and police vans and an ambulance at the scene.
The attack upended last-minute campaigning ahead of the European Parliament vote on Sunday with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe cancelling his appearance at his centrist party‘s final rally Friday night.
The bombing follows a series of Isis and al-Qaeda attacks on France over the past five years that have seen 250 people killed in a series of devastating attacks.
They started in January 2015 with a murderous attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by two brothers affiliated to al-Qaeda.
Later that year, in November, a series of assaults by Isis terrorists carrying Kalashnikov and explosive in Paris caused 130 deaths.
Isis has targeted France since the country became involved in bombing raids on the so-called Isis caliphate in Syria and Iraq, but that has been decimated in recent months.
Despite this, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and his security chiefs have warned the threat of further violent crimes ‘remains very high‘.
Last month two Frenchmen were charged in Paris on suspicion of planning an attack on a school or a police officer.
Far-Right groups have also been intercepted planning assaults on ethnic minority targets and politicians, including President Macron himself.
The attack comes on the even of European Parliament elections in France, when millions will go to the polls to elect new MEPs.
Anti-government Yellow Vest protestors have also been causing chaos in major cities such as Lyon every weekend as they call for Mr Macron tor resign.
Particularly disturbing attacks on the police have taken place in Lyon, but none have caused fatalities.