France Arrests Three Suspects in Lyon Bomb Attack That Wounded 13

A 24-year-old computer science student, a minor who studies at a high school in Lyon, and a woman were arrested following a large manhunt that was launched after a device exploded Friday on a busy pedestrian street

French emergency workers arrive at the scene of a suspected package bomb blast along a pedestrian street in the heart of Lyon, southeast France, May 24, 2019.
Philippe Desmazes/AFP

French police have arrested three suspects following a blast in the city of Lyon that wounded 13 people last week, authorities said Monday.

The case is being handled as a terrorism investigation given the circumstances of the attack, committed in broad daylight, and the use of an explosive device capable of hitting a large number of people with screws and metal balls packed into a bag.

A police source said the three arrested were a 24-year-old computer science student of Algerian nationality, who does not have a police record, a minor who studies at a high school in Lyon and is also of Algerian nationality, and a woman.

The Paris prosecutors' office said that minor was a member of the main suspect's family circle. No information was provided about the woman.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced the arrest of the 24-year-old on Twitter, but did not provide further details on the suspect or where he was arrested.

Security camera footage of the incident shows a partially masked suspect wheeling a bicycle to the scene, before leaving a bag outside a branch of a popular bakery chain.

DNA traces were found on the remains of the parcel, according to a source close to investigation.

Another source said the judicial police arrested the man on the street after having tailed him.

They decided not to arrest him at his apartment, the source said, for fear that there could still be some triacetone triperoxide or TATP, the powerful but unstable homemade explosive that was used in the attack.

Police had launched a large manhunt after a device exploded Friday on a busy pedestrian street in the central city. Regional authorities said the 13 wounded suffered mostly minor injuries.

President Emmanuel Macron called the explosion an "attack" but no group has claimed responsibility for the explosion yet.

An investigation has been opened for "attempted murder in relation with a terrorist undertaking" and "criminal terrorist association."

Last week, France's counter-terrorism prosecutor, Remy Heitz, described video surveillance that showed a suspect heading toward the center of Lyon on a bike Friday afternoon. The man was seen arriving on foot, pushing his bike along a pedestrian-only street, then leaving a paper bag on a concrete block in the middle of the street near a bakery.

The suspect immediately returned to his bike and left by the same path. One minute later, the explosion shattered the glass of a refrigerator in the bakery, Heitz said.

It was unclear whether the suspect arrested Monday was the same person.

Investigators at the scene have found screws, ball bearings, batteries, a triggering device that can be used remotely and plastic pieces that may come from the explosive device.

France has been hit by a spate of attacks in recent years, some of them deadly, carried out by people ranging from extremist attackers to mentally unstable individuals.