Paris: Police mystified after bomb found in plush neighbourhood

The Paris prosecutor has opened an anti-terror investigation after the discovery of a homemade bomb at a building in a plush part of Paris.

Paris: Police mystified after bomb found in plush neighbourhood
Photo: AFP

Police discovered two cylinders of gas in the hall of a building in the city's posh 16th arrondissement on the western edge of the capital and two others on the pavement.

They also found a mobile phone linked to the cylinders, which appeared to be “a device to ignite” the explosive, the sources said. 

A resident alerted police after finding two of the gas cylinders around 4:30 am (0230 GMT) on Saturday in his building in the Porte d'Auteuil neighbourhood, a source close to the probe said.

Police then found the other two cylinders outside the building, believed to be on the quiet Rue Chanez, which runs parallel to Boulevard Exelmans and is a short walk from the Parc des Princes, where Paris football team PSG play their home matches.

Reports said the improvised device had been soaked in petrol and was “operational”.

(Google street view)

According to another AFP source, five suspects were being held in custody Monday night. According to Le Point magazine the main suspect has links to the radical Islamist movement and was known to intelligence services.

It remains a mystery why the bomb was left outside the building on what is a quiet street in one of the French capital's plushest neighbourhoods. 

According to French media, police have said there was no one living in the apartment block who might be considered a target for jihadists.

(The bomb was left outside this building on Rue Chanez. AFP)

But one theory put forward by Le Figaro newspaper is that the bomb makers may have wanted to target an association that battles radical Islam but got the wrong address. This has not been confirmed by any official figure.

France's Interior Minister Gerard Collomb suggested the motivation may simply have been to create fear.

“Blowing up a building in a chic neighbourhood shows that no one is safe… it shows that it could happen anywhere in France,” the minister told France Inter.

The terrorist threat remains high in France, which has been hit with a series of jihadist attacks since January 2015.

The latest attack was on Sunday in Marseille when a knifeman stabbed two women to death at the main train station shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”). He was shot and killed by soldiers.

The stabbings bring to 241 the number of people killed in jihadist attacks in France.

On September 12, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said that 12 planned attacks had been foiled since the beginning of the year.


Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim’s x-ray

A Paris court on Wednesday convicted a surgeon for trying to sell an X-Ray image of a wounded arm of a woman who survived the 2015 terror attacks in the French capital.

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim's x-ray

Found guilty of violating medical secrecy, renowned orthopaedic surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean must pay the victim €5,000 or face two months in jail, judges ordered.

Masmejean, who works at the Georges-Pompidou hospital in western Paris, posted the image of a young woman’s forearm penetrated by a Kalashnikov bullet on marketplace Opensea in late 2021.

The site allows its roughly 20 million users to trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – certificates of ownership of an artwork that are stored on a “blockchain” similar to the technology used to secure cryptocurrencies.

In the file’s description, the surgeon wrote that the young woman he had operated on had “lost her boyfriend in the attack” on the Bataclan concert hall, the focus of the November 2015 gun and bomb assault in which jihadists killed 130 people.

The X-Ray image never sold for the asking price of $2,776, and was removed from Opensea after being revealed by investigative website Mediapart in January.

Masmejean claimed at a September court hearing that he had been carrying out an “experiment” by putting a “striking and historic medical image” online – while acknowledging that it had been “idiocy, a mistake, a blunder”.

The court did not find him guilty of two further charges of abuse of personal data and illegally revealing harmful personal information.

Nor was he barred from practicing as prosecutors had urged, with the lead judge saying it would be “disproportionate and inappropriate” to inflict such a “social death” on the doctor.

The victim’s lawyer Elodie Abraham complained of a “politically correct” judgement.

“It doesn’t bother anyone that there’s been such a flagrant breach of medical secrecy. It’s not a good message for doctors,” Abraham said.

Neither Masmejean, who has been suspended from his hospital job, nor the victim were present for Wednesday’s ruling.

The surgeon may yet face professional consequences after appearing before the French medical association in September, his lawyer Ivan Terel said.