According to police, at least 13 people were injured in an explosion in the French city of Lyon on Friday night. The Paris prosecutor announced that anti-terrorism specialists had taken over the investigation. However, French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said on Friday evening to news broadcaster BFMTV: “It’s too early to say if it can be called a terrorist attack.” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told prefects across the country to step up security measures in rush places.
The explosion occurred in the early evening in the center of the city in southeastern France. The local prefecture had initially spoken of at least eight injured. The government was “extremely shocked” about the crime in Lyon, Belloubet said.
According to the French Ministry of the Interior, France info reported that a bag or suitcase containing an explosive device with screws had exploded at the scene of the crime.
The police searched for a suspect in the evening with a photo. The picture shows a man wearing dark sunglasses and pushing a bicycle. His face is masked. He wears short, light trousers and a long-sleeved dark top. It is the still image of a security camera. The suspect is said to have deposited the explosive device in front of a bakery in the city center.
President Emmanuel Macron called the explosion an “attack” in an interview with YouTuber Hugo Travers shortly after the incident.
The explosion occurred at the bakery on Victor Hugo Street at a crossroads in a pedestrian area. The local prefecture denied in the evening rumors that there should have been more explosions. Two metro stations in the city center were closed, the area around the crime scene closed off. The prefecture called on residents to stay away and not spread rumors. The population should not be alarmed, said David Kimelfeld, president of the Lyon metropolitan area, BFMTV.
Eyewitnesses to the explosion in Lyon reported a loud bang, according to France info. Terrified people ran across the street. The police were therefore quickly in place and locked the scene.
Some of the people were slightly injured on the legs, a pharmacist, whose business is opposite the bakery, told BMFTV. The injuries were reportedly from small balls and screws. After the explosion, there was no panic, said district mayor Broliquier. There is no danger to the inhabitants of the neighborhood.
Located in the southeast of France, Lyon is the capital of the Rhône and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and, with more than 515,000 inhabitants, the third largest city in France after Paris and Marseille.