The above photo shows Parisian policemen standing guard outside of the city’s International Monetary Fund (IMF) office following a letter bomb explosion that injured one employee. This incident has prompted French authorities to sound the terror alarm, and across the country in Grasse, an unrelated high school shooting left eight people injured. Police have already arrested one person in connection with the second incident, which does not appear to be terror related (although the details are no less horrifying). Yet the first incident has sparked a manhunt by anti-terrorism investigators.
Reuters reveals how a device, probably a home-made one, exploded “like a big fire cracker” as soon as a secretary opened a letter addressed to the IMF’s European representative, Jeffrey Franks, who has led the office for two years. No group or person has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, although Conspiracy of Fire Cells — a militant Greek group — has stepped up to claim a similar Wednesday attack (a parcel bomb) that was sent to German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. That package was intercepted en route from Athens.
Hours away at the Grasse high school, three people were directly struck by gunfire and another five people were injured in a resulting stampede as students and faculty fled the premises. Al Jazeera reports that authorities have arrested an “unstable young man fascinated by firearms,” and the suspect remains in custody. The 17-year-old student toted a notable arsenal (a rifle, some handguns, and two grenades), and investigators believe he “had consulted American-style mass killing videos.”
French Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem has praised the school’s headmaster as “heroic” for rushing towards the student when he began firing, sustaining a gunshot wound in the process. None of the injuries — either at the IMF or in Grasse — are life threatening in nature.
Paris remains in a state of heightened awareness to such attacks after a February machete attack at the Lourve museum, which raised fears again following the November 2015 coordinated terror attacks that killed over 130 people and injured hundreds more.