At the corner of the pedestrian street Victor Hugo and rue Sala, where bomb exploded, a man in his thirties was seen. He biked around before putting a suitcase in front of the bakery, his face masked by large glasses. “The man was seen and recorded on the video surveillance cameras of the city of Lyon, and so we have his itinerary,” said Denis Broliquier, mayor of the second arrondissement.
The prefecture of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region called on the public to avoid the sector, which was cordoned off. The anti-terrorist unit of Paris has taken over the investigation, even if the terrorist track is not mentioned at the moment.
But Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet told BFMTV: “It is too early to call it a terrorist act […] since the suspect is still wanted for the moment.”
This latest attack comes two days before the elections for the European elections, and many political figures have responded on social media. Marine Le Pen, the president of the National Rally, described the event as a “terrorist attack”.
Laurent Wauquiez thanked “the forces of order for quickly mobilizing”. The candidate of President Macron’s LREM list, Nathalie Loiseau, sent a message of support to the inhabitants of the city: “In our heart, nothing must stop the democracy”. Macron called the explosion an “attack”.
“It’s not for me to give a toll but it appears there were no casualties,” said Macron. “There have been injuries, so obviously I’m thinking of these injured and their families.”
For his part, the Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner traveled to Lyon, reported Le Figaro, and has already ordered a reinforcement of security at public sites. “Following the explosion in Lyon, I have just sent instructions of vigilance to all prefects to enhance the security of public sites and sporting events, cultural and religious,” said the Minister of Interior in a statement on Twitter.
Police are still searching for a North African male who left the scene of the historic city centre, between the Saone and Rhone rivers, on a black mountain bicycle. Police have released a grainy image of the suspect taken from CCTV footage.
[#Lyon] #AppelÀTémoins pour retrouver l’homme suspecté d’être l’auteur de l’attentat.
Si vous avez des informations, appelez le 197. #AidezNous, votre témoignage peut être déterminant. pic.twitter.com/HcPc43nl9d
— Police nationale (@PoliceNationale) May 24, 2019
Eight women, four men and a 10-year-old girl were injured by the parcel bomb, which contained “screws or bolts,” said a police source.
The previous a parcel bomb that exploded in France was in 2007 when a device killed one person and injured another in front of a law office in Paris, AFP news agency reported. Police however never found the bomber.
The mayor of the city Gérard Collomb, is currently visiting Japan, but announced his immediate return to Lyon.