Man released over Paris parcel bomb
Mathieu Rabechault reports that a man released over the Paris parcel bomb
PARIS, December 10, 2007 - Paris police released without charge Saturday a man held for questioning over a parcel bomb that killed a secretary and left a lawyer badly injured earlier this week, judicial sources said.
The unnamed 45-year-old architect detained had been the object of a
harassment complaint two years ago from the senior lawyer at the office,
Catherine Gouet-Jenselme, 60.
The explosion in Paris's fashionable eighth district on Thursday killed
74-year-old secretary Jacqueline Belbouai, who opened the packet, and injured Olivier Brane, 58.
Brane was hospitalised with injuries to one eye and one hand, but his life
was not in danger.
A source close to the investigation said that the trail had gone cold for
the moment, with no new details allowing authorities to move the probe forward.
The explosive, in the form of a pipe bomb and contained in a wooden
package, was addressed to Brane.
Brane was visited in hospital Saturday afternoon by French Justice Minister
Rachida Dati, who passed on her support to him and the rest of the firm,
according to a statement from her ministry.
Authorities visited Brane at the hospital on Friday evening, but he could
not explain why he would have been targeted.
"He is not aware of having any enemies," a judicial source said. "He
doesn't know where it could have come from."
He also could not provide further details on the courier who delivered the
package, who has been described as a small, young woman wearing a helmet.
Police continued searching for her on Saturday.
She delivered two other packages that did not contain explosives. One was
addressed to Gouet-Jenselme and included chocolates, while the other
containing bottles of champagne was sent to the two lawyers.
Investigators believe the bomb went off semi-automatically as the woman
left the building on Thursday lunchtime.
The building 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 law office deals mainly with civil matters such as divorce, property
and insurance disputes, they said.