French launch manhunt for suspect behind Lyon blast that injured 13

The attack was the latest incident to rattle France.

May 25, 2019, 12:04 PM

French officials have launched a manhunt for an individual suspected of leaving an explosive on a busy street in the French city of Lyon that injured 13 people and blew out the windows of a nearby bakery.

Because the blast happened in broad daylight and in a public space, it was being investigated as an assassination attempt linked to a terrorist enterprise, prosecutor Remy Heinz said at a press conference in Paris on Saturday

The man was caught on surveillance cameras arriving on scene on foot at 5:25 p.m., local time, on Friday afternoon, and setting a paper bag on the ground. The explosion happened less than two minutes after the man is seen walking away -- at 5:28 p.m. and 39 seconds, according to Heinz.

Investigators were able to track the suspect as he made his way from the Rhone River waterfront area, and then walked away from the scene along the same route. He made part of the journey on a bicycle. officials said.

"It was scary," Gisele Sanchez, a local business owner, told the Associated Press. At the scene on Victor Hugo Street, investigators found screws, LR6 batteries, metal balls and a bomb triggering mechanism that allowed for remote triggering, Heinz said.

No group has claimed credit for the attack.

Of the 13 people wounded, 11 were taken to the hospital and several had to undergo operations to remove fragments from the blast from their bodies, Heinz said.

Late on Friday evening, police put out a call seeking witnesses, and since then, they have taken several dozen statements, officials said.

France has been on alert since a series of attacks in Paris in 2015 that killed 130 people and injured hundreds more. Last December, a gunman killed several people and injured a dozen more at a Christmas Market in Strasbourg, in eastern France.

Lyon, in central France, is the country's third largest city, and it is due to host the finals of the Women's World Cup soccer tournament on July 7.

In January, a science building at the University of Lyon in France caught fire after three gas cylinders on the roof of the building exploded, injuring three students -- though officials said at the time that the incident was not tied to terrorism.

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