PARIS – Police in the eastern French city are searching for a man on a bicycle after at least eight people were hurt when an explosive device detonated Friday evening, a spokeswoman for the regional administration told EFE.
The suspect, who partially covered his face, was caught on security cameras leaving a bag in front of a bakery near Place Bellecour in the heart of France’s third-largest city just minutes before the explosion occurred at 5:30 pm, the spokeswoman said.
She said that investigators continued to review security footage from the area, which is not far from Lyon’s main train station.
“Nothing on Rue Victor-Hugo can escape us,” said Lyon’s deputy mayor for public safety, Jean-Yves Secheresse, alluding to the pervasive presence of security cameras.
While authorities initially said the cause of the explosion was unknown, President Emmanuel Macron referred to the blast as an attack.
“It’s not for me to give a toll but it appears there are no fatalities. There have been injuries, so obviously I’m thinking of these injured and their families,” he said during a live interview on YouTube.
Jurisdiction over the investigation was shifted from the municipal homicide squad to the Paris prosecutor’s office, which handles terrorism cases throughout France.
France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said that he had ordered police forces across the country to beef up security for large gatherings, such as sporting, entertainment and religious events.
The interior ministry is coordinating the response to the situation with regional officials and the Paris prosecutor’s office, he said.
Both Castaner and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe canceled plans Friday night to attend their party’s final rally ahead of elections to the European Parliament.
BFM television described the explosive device as a parcel-bomb packed with nails and bolts.
Media outlets put the number of people wounded at 13 and said that none of the injuries was life-threatening.
The national police denied rumors of additional explosions in Lyon and urged the public to beware “fake news.”