Friday, March 17, 2017

Blast at IMF Paris offices after envelope opened, one person hurt

PARIS - A letter exploded when it was opened at the offices in central Paris of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday injuring one person.

The Paris police department said an operation was ongoing at the offices of the IMF and World Bank after the incident.

The blast was caused by a homemade device, said the head of the French capital's police force.

"It was something that was fairly homemade," police chief Michel Cadot told reporters.

Cadot said there had been some telephone threats made in recent days, but it was not clear if these were linked to the incident at the IMF's offices.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde condemned an explosion as "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. We are working closely with the French authorities to investigate this incident and ensure the safety of our staff," she said.

The incident, just six weeks before a presidential election, comes as a militant Greek group Conspiracy of Fire Cells claimed responsibility for a parcel bomb mailed to German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Wednesday.

French President Francois Hollande said French authorities would do all they could to find those responsible for the incident.

(Reporting by Bate Felix, Sudip Kar-Gupta and Sophie Louet; Writing and Editing by Richard Balmforth, John Irish and Adrian Croft)