Second Paris Bombing This Week Injures 40 at Cafeteria
PARIS (AP) _ A bomb exploded Friday in a crowded cafeteria, injuring 40 people in a shower of shattered window glass and debris, officials said. It was the second bombing here this week.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the lunchtime explosion in the cafeteria on the second floor of the Casino supermarket at the La Defense commercial center on the western outskirts of Paris.
A few hours after the blast, the Interior Ministry said 12 foreigners were were being expelled after they were rounded up following a bombing Monday that killed one person and wounded 19 in the post office at City Hall.
The Interior Ministry statement did not give the names or nationalities of those being expelled.
Police said the bomb apparently was in a tin box placed under a seat.
″I was near the cash register,″ said a woman, who declined to be identified. ″I was bowled over by the blast. I saw all the debris fall from the ceiling. People were screaming.
″I saw a girl fall beside me. She was pregnant and had pains in her abdomen. I went to look for an ambulance.″
Witnesses told police a man in his 20s was seen fleeing the scene.
The cafeteria’s windows were blown out and the square in front of the building was littered with glass shards and debris. The inside was wrecked, but there was no fire.
The cafeteria serves an average 1,200 meals each midday, but it could not be immediately learned how many people were there when the bomb went off.
A pharmacist among the first rescuers said most of the victims were hurt by flying glass and debris.
The fire department said the explosion was reported at 12:29 p.m., and that 40 people were hurt, two of them seriously.
The Paris Stock Market was also evacuated Friday because of a bomb threat. Police searched the building and allowed trading to resume after about an hour’s delay when nothing was found.
Interior Minister Charles Pasqua said the La Defense area, an ultramodern complex of high-rise office buildings housing many major French and international companies, had been under special surveillance. About 60,000 people work in the area, which also has about 38,000 residents.
Police sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said first indications were that the explosive device was like the one that exploded Monday inside a post office at the City Hall building.
There were two conflicting claims of responsibility for that blast - by the Committee for Solidarity with Arab and Middle East Political Prisoners and by the previously unknown Partisans of Right and Freedom.
The committee is demanding that the government free three Middle Easterners from French jails and has said it set off other bombs in France as well.
The Interior Ministry said Friday that ″following recent terrorist attacks, a series of arrests were carried out in Paris and the provinces.
″It has been decided to expel 12 of the foreigners arrested. They have been placed in administative detention centers until details of these expulsions have been worked out.″
The round-up, which followed the Monday bombing, had been first described as for routine questioning and several other people were said to have been released.
Since last December, nine bombs have exploded and three been defused in the Paris region in attacks linked to the Middle East.
On Sept. 4, a bomb failed to go off in a crowded commuter train in Paris at the peak of rush hour. The Committee for Solidarity with Arab and Middle East Political Prisoners claimed that attempt and five others in France earlier this year that killed two people and wounded more than 60.
Last December, two bombs in Paris department stores injured 35 people.
La Defense, two miles west of the Arch of Triumph, is spread over nearly 2,470 acres on the bluff where the French held off the Germans in the 1871 Franco-Prussian war.