|Soldiers secured the street near the building where one person was killed and another seriously injured yesterday in a bomb blast in central Paris. Antiterrorist agents were investigating. (benoit tessier/reuters)|
Parcel bomb kills law firm secretary
Blast shatters office in Paris; motive unknown
PARIS - A package bearing two homemade bombs exploded yesterday in a lawyer's office in central Paris, killing the woman who opened it. The motive for the unusual attack remained unclear.
The building, a few blocks from the Arc de Triomphe, also housed a law firm cofounded by President Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as a Holocaust research foundation, although officials said they did not appear to be targeted.
"It is a truly atrocious act," Sarkozy's spokesman, David Martinon, said on France-Info radio.
A messenger delivered the package, a wooden box that contained two homemade explosive devices, Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said.
The office secretary opened the package and both explosives went off, killing her and seriously injuring a lawyer. Prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin said the secretary had had no reason to suspect anything out of the ordinary.
The package appeared to have been addressed to the law firm, which handles civil and commercial cases, Marin said. He said the nature of the explosives and their strength were unclear.
Antiterrorist agents were investigating. An official close to the investigation said the bombing did not bear the hallmarks of Islamic or Corsican terrorists, who have staged attacks in France but often use bigger bombs and different methods. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.
Alliot-Marie said the attorney was expected to survive. A police official identified him as Olivier Brane, a specialist in property law, and said he suffered facial injuries and was at a Paris hospital.
The official said the letter was addressed to Brane and to the director of the office, Catherine Gouet-Jenselme. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give his name to the media.
Christian Charriere-Bournazel, president of the Paris bar association, said the explosion "had nothing to do with" the law firm that Sarkozy opened with two other lawyers in 1987 because it is not on the same floor as the one targeted. Sarkozy's practice bore his name until his election in May.
The bombed office was on the same floor as the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah.
Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld, after visiting the Holocaust foundation, said it had not received any threats.