French parcel bomb suspect charged and detained

Police work near the site of the attack in central Lyon, May 24, 2019.
Police work near the site of the attack in central Lyon, May 24, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - A man suspected of planting a parcel bomb that wounded 14 people in Lyon, central France, was charged on Friday (May 31) with "attempted terrorist murder", a prosecutor said.

He was also charged him with criminal association and building an explosive for terrorist purposes, prosecutor Remy Heitz said.

A magistrate ordered the detention of Mohamed Hichem Medjoub, 24, in custody since his arrest on Monday.

Medjoub, who is of Algerian origin, told investigators he had pledged allegiance "in his heart of hearts" to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, Heitz said in a statement issued on Friday.

Police arrested him after a manhunt that began last Friday when a homemade bomb containing screws, ball bearings and acetone peroxide, or APEX, exploded on a busy pedestrian street in central Lyon.

APEX is the volatile compound used in the deadly Paris terror attacks of Nov 13, 2015.

Police identified Medjoub via video surveillance cameras that caught him fleeing the scene on a bicycle.

 
 

Investigators found traces of his DNA on the homemade bomb, which was detonated by remote control, a source close the case has told AFP.

Medjoub was arrested without incident while getting off a bus in a suburb just south of the city.

His parents and brother were also briefly detained, but have since been released.

At the family's home, investigators found batteries and chemicals similar to those used in the explosive device, while screws, ball bearings, four remote control devices and a water bottle with traces of APEX were found in the building's rubbish bins.