A trapped letter exploded on Thursday at the Paris headquarters of the IMF and wounded a management assistant, an act immediately called “attack” by President François Hollande.
“We are still facing an attack, there is no other word against a package bomb,” said the French president. “We are always targeted. Here, in this case, it is the International Monetary Fund, but it is in France, it is France. (…) We are directly concerned, “he said on the sidelines of a trip to the South.
“There is a state of emergency, I announced that it should be extended until 15 July,” he said.
Christine Lagarde, the IMF patron, has her side condemned an “act of cowardly violence”.
Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, traveling on the ground, shortened his visit after the explosion which was added shortly after a shooting. It caused eight light casualties in a school in Grasse (south-east), of which a 17-year-old student was arrested in possession of several weapons.
The explosion of the package trapped in the headquarters of the IMF “slightly injured” the secretary in the office, according to the Paris police headquarters.
On Wednesday in Berlin, an “explosive mixture” was discovered at the German Ministry of Finance, shipped from Greece, with a false address as the sender of a right-wing deputy. The Greek anarchist group Conspiracy of the Fire Cells claimed responsibility for sending this packet.
According to a Greek police source, “it is very early” to establish a possible link between the two actions, in Paris and Berlin. “We are cautious” and “remain vigilant,” the source told AFP.
Engines “relatively artisanal”
The explosion at the Paris headquarters of the IMF was provoked by a “relatively artisanal” pyrotechnic device which caused “limited damage in the office”, said police prefect Michel Cadot during a brief press briefing on square.
According to the first elements of the investigation, the craft could be a firecracker. Several people were evacuated as a precaution after this explosion occurred around 10:30 am GMT in the heart of Paris, not far from the Arc de Triomphe, near the Champs-Élysées.
The anti-terrorist section of the Paris public prosecutor’s office opened an investigation. “The target and the mode of operation” make this referral “logical,” said a source close to the investigation.
The investigation in flagrance is open especially for attempted murder and destruction by means of explosive in connection with a terrorist enterprise, and criminal criminal terrorist association, the prosecution announced. The investigations have been entrusted to the Counter-Terrorism Branch (Sdat) and the Directorate General of Internal Security (DGSI), the prosecutor said.
The Paris police were sent to the scene.
On Wednesday, Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas considered that the conditions were met for “an exit from the state of emergency”, established in France in the evening of the jihadist attacks of 13 November 2015 and extended until 15 July 2017.
The decision will however return to the majority of the ballot box after the presidential and legislative elections. Any further extension of the state of emergency must be submitted to Parliament.