Nine injured in Paris embassy bombing

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 October, 2004, 12:00am

A medium-sized bomb outside the Indonesian embassy in Paris exploded yesterday, slightly injuring nine people, including four embassy staff, authorities said.

French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin said a package exploded beneath the flag that was hanging from a balcony at the embassy in Paris' exclusive 16th district, not far from the Eiffel Tower.

Mr Villepin described the explosive device as 'a bomb of medium strength'.

The blast also damaged cars and blew a small crater in front of the embassy, which was blocked off by police shortly after the 5am explosion.

Most of the injured people were hurt by flying glass, Mr Villepin said. Three of the injured worked at the embassy and lived in the basement of the building. They were treated and released from local hospitals, according to Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa in Jakarta.

Shattered glass covered the street for at least 30 metres.

Windows as high as the top fourth floor were blown out, and chunks of stone were blasted from the embassy wall where the package was placed.

French authorities were at a loss to explain why the embassy was targeted.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

However for want of firm evidence the authorities continued to class the attack as criminal rather than terrorist.

Officials said that other theories - including a settling of accounts inside the embassy itself - were also being looked into.

Radio Monte Carlo quoted unnamed investigators as saying this was the favoured theory.

The anti-terrorism unit of the Paris prosecutor's office had opened an investigation along with the police department's anti-terrorist brigade, officials said.

Authorities in Jakarta said they were prepared to send investigators to probe the explosion.