Police investigating the bombing of an Indian restaurant in Ontario, Canada, where two private birthday parties were underway, say they do not believe it was linked to terrorism.
Peel Regional Police chief Jennifer Evans says there was a “considerable amount of damage” inside the building when an improvised explosive device was detonated at the Bombay Bhel restaurant on Friday (Thursday 10.30pm local time) in the city of Mississauga.
“There’s no indication that this is a terrorist act, no indication that this was a hate crime. At this time we haven’t ruled anything out as we start our investigation,” she said.
The attack in Mississauga, Canada’s sixth-largest city and located about 32km west of Toronto, comes a month after a driver with a grudge against women ploughed a rental van into a lunch-hour crowd in Toronto, killing 10 people and injuring 15.
Local police are searching for two men, both wearing dark coloured zip-up hoodies, after they were captured on CCTV and then seeing fleeing the crime scene.
Peel Region paramedic Joe Korstanje said 15 people were taken to the Toronto Trauma Centre, three in a critical condition. The conditions of the three – a 35-year-old man, a 62-year-old woman and a 48-year-old woman – have since been upgraded to stable.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a post on Twitter: “We’re in solidarity with the victims of this violence, and wish a swift recovery to the injured. We’re working closely with police and officials in Mississauga on this.”
2 suspects attended the scene, detonated an Improvised Explosive Device within the restaurant. Several injured were taken to local hospital and 3 in critical condition were taken to a Toronto Trauma Centre. pic.twitter.com/yzCT59UVN6
— Peel Regional Police (@PeelPoliceMedia) May 25, 2018
“We transported three of them to trauma centres in what I would say is critical condition just from blast injuries,” he told The Globe and Mail.
Twelve other victims have been treated and released from hospital.
— Jeremy Cohn (@JeremyGlobalTV) May 25, 2018
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said the explosion was understandably frightening, coming so soon after the van attack, but moved to reassure Canadians that police were working hard on the case.
“These are shocking incidents and made all the more shocking because they have been unusual in our society. And so to have two of these things happen in a short period of time, I think it is worrisome.”
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie called the bombing a “heinous crime”.
“The people who have done this need to answer for their crimes and they need to be brought to justice,” she said.
– with AAP