Paris IMF letter bomb: President Hollande condemns ‘attack’ that injured 1
Thursday a letter bomb exploded at the International Monetary Fund office in Paris lightly injuring one person, police said. Paris police Chief Michel Cadot described the homemade explosive as a “big firecracker” and that it was sent by regular mail.
He said there had been telephone threats made to the IMF, but it’s not clear whether they were linked to Thursday’s incident.
No one knows who sent the homemade explosive, the incident came as a Greek anarchist group claimed responsibility for a failed letter bomb sent to the German Finance Ministry on Wednesday.
According to French media, the letter that contained the explosive substance was addressed to a senior IMF official. The secretary who opened the letter was injured by shrapnel in the face and hurt in the eardrum because of a “rather violent noise,” the police chief said.
President Francois Hollande, who is on a visit to the south of France near Toulon, called the incident “an attack”.
“We are again confronted with an attack. There is no other word for it when you are confronted with a package bomb,” he told reporters on Thursday.
Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF, condemned the explosion, saying it was a “cowardly act of violence.”
“I condemn this cowardly act of violence and reaffirm the IMF’s resolve to continue our work in line with our mandate,” she said.
Staff from the IMF office were evacuated and armed military officers and police guarded the area, in a chic district of western Paris. The World Bank office in France is in the same compound.
Police searched all four floors of the building, Cadot said. No one else was injured and only light damages were incurred.
France has been on high alert after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks over the past two years.
The most recent attack happened last month when a machete-wielding assailant shouting “Allahu Akbar!” was shot by soldiers stationed outside the Louvre Museum. The attacked, who was shot four times after injuring a soldier, was identified as Egyptian-born Abdullah Reda Refaie al-Hamahmy, 28.
The Greek group that claimed responsibility for the German bombing, Conspiracy Cells of Fire, claimed in an online posting Thursday on a Greek left-wing website that the attack was part of a concerted campaign by international anarchist groups.
Many Greeks resent austerity measures imposed by IMF and the European Union linked to Greece’s bailout program.
The bomb sent to Germany, containing low-grade explosives like the ones used in fire crackers, was destroyed Wednesday before it could explode.
“The package contained an explosive mix,” Berlin Police said in a statement. “It was designed to cause severe injuries when the package is opened.”