Early Thursday, police reported that a letter bomb exploded at the International Monetary Fund office in Paris, injuring one person. Paris police chief Michel Cadot told reporters that they believe a homemade device detonated after it was sent by mail. He added that phone threats had also been made to the facility, though it is not clear whether the calls are related to the incident on Thursday.
Cadot said the explosive was like a “big firecracker.”
The victim was a female employee who was injured in the face and arms as she opened the envelope containing the device. She suffered burns to her face and arms but police said her life is not in danger. The police chief added that a “rather violent noise” from the explosion hurt her eardrum.
French media reported that the envelope was addressed to a senior IMF official and the woman who opened it was a secretary.
Staff in the facility was evacuated and armed military officers and police surrounded the area.
French President Francois Hollande called the incident an “attack” and stated that authorities would do all they could to find the perpetrators.
“We are again confronted with an attack. There is no other word for it when you are confronted with a package bomb,” he told reporters on Thursday.
Christine Lagarde, IMF’s Managing Director, condemned the “cowardly act of violence.”
“I have been in touch with the office, and my compassion goes to the colleagues there,” Lagarde said. “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 continued.