From: Reuters
Published December 6, 2007 12:07 PM

Parcel bomb kills woman in Paris law office

By Laure Bretton and Brian Rohan

PARIS (Reuters) - A parcel bomb killed a legal secretary and injured five other people on Thursday in a Paris building housing a law firm partly owned by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

A female secretary in the Gouet-Jenselme law practice died and lawyer Olivier Brane was rushed to hospital with serious injuries, officials said.

The parcel had been addressed to Brane, they said. Sarkozy, a former lawyer, retains a 30 percent stake in the Arnaud Claude and Associates firm which shares the building.


Paris public prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin said the explosion had no link to Sarkozy.

Marin said two devices were delivered in the same parcel and exploded when the package was opened shortly before 1 p.m. (1200 GMT).

"It seems the lawyers' practice is mystified by this incident," Marin said of the Gouet-Jenselme practice, which specializes in divorce, insurance and real estate cases.

Four other people were injured, apart from Brane, and 10 suffered shock, police said.

Marin said a criminal investigation had been launched and forensic specialists were on the scene. Police were trying to identify the courier who delivered the parcel, who had worn a helmet.

A dozen police vans, armed soldiers in combat fatigues and fire trucks lined the streets near the building in western Paris, a Reuters reporter said. A large area around the lawyers' offices was cordoned off.

"We don't know the reasons for the attack. We only know Mr. Brane's practice is on the fourth floor and that the door opposite is that of the Shoah Foundation," Christian Charriere-Bournazel, the future head of the Paris bar association, told reporters.

The foundation is dedicated to the remembrance of the Holocaust but French Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld, who visited the scene, told reporters he did not think the foundation had been the target. "There has never been a threat," he said.

Interior Minister Alliot-Marie condemned the "cowardly and odious act" but said it was too early to draw an conclusions.

"An inquiry is under way," she told reporters near the lawyers' offices, which are on a street housing both residential apartments and office buildings.

Paris's Socialist Mayor Bertrand Delanoe called the attack a criminal act.

(Additional reporting by Swaha Pattanaik, Jean-Baptiste Vey; writing by Kerstin Gehmlich; editing by Jon Boyle and Andrew Roche)

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