French police question man over deadly parcel bomb

7th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

Unnamed 45-year-old man was the object of a harassment complaint two years ago from

PARIS, Dec 7, 2007  - French police were questioning a man Friday over
a parcel bomb attack on a Paris lawyers' office in which an assistant was
killed and a lawyer seriously wounded, officials said.
The unnamed 45-year-old man was the object of a harassment complaint two
years ago from the senior lawyer at the office Catherine Gouet-Jenselme, 60,
though the case never reached court, they said.
Police also said they are looking for the woman who delivered the
booby-trapped packet to the fourth floor office shortly after noon Thursday.
The woman, described as small, was wearing a motor-cycle helmet and left the
scene straightaway.
The building in Paris's fashionable eighth arrondissement, or district,
also houses the law office where President Nicolas Sarkozy once worked, as
well as the Foundation for the Memory of the Holocaust.
However investigators believe it most likely that the attack was an act of
personal vengeance rather than political.
The blast killed 60-year-old secretary Jacqueline Belbouai, who opened the
packet, and injured Olivier Brane, 58. The lawyer was hospitalised but his
life is not in danger.
Colleagues at the law firm said the parcel was addressed jointly to
Gouet-Jenselme and Brane, but they were baffled over why they were targeted.
The law office deals mainly with uncontroversial civil matters such as
divorce, property and insurance disputes, they said.
Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, who visited the scene Thursday,
said police were keeping an open mind but were confident that the bomb was not
delivered to the law firm by mistake.
"There is no favoured theory... It is too early to be able to come to any
conclusions. But the other activities in the building were clearly identified,
so it seems clear that it was someone in the law firm who was the target," she
In a statement, Prime Minister Francois Fillon vowed to bring to justice
"those behind this cowardly and odious act" and offered his condolences to the
family of the dead woman.
Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who visited the scene, said: "We must be
very firm and very determined in our condemnation of this crime." His rival in
upcoming municipal elections, Francoise de Panafieu, described it as an
"odious act."
Justice Minister Rachida Dati reacted with "shock and emotion" and was in
close contact with the rest of the government over the attack, her spokesman

AFP 2007

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