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Posted at: May 26, 2018, 2:05 AM; last updated: May 26, 2018, 9:55 AM (IST)

2 men detonate explosive at Indian restaurant in Canada; 15 injured

No proof of terror or hate crime yet, say police | Indian missions in Canada working round the clock: Swaraj

Tribune News Service
Toronto, May 25

A powerful explosion at an Indian restaurant in Canada's Ontario province injured 15 people, three of them seriously, when two unidentified men detonated an improvised explosive device, police said on Friday.

Two suspects with their faces covered entered the Bombay Bhel restaurant late on Thursday night, dropped the device and fled, police said.

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In an early morning media briefing, Peel Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans said that there is no indication that the explosion was an act of terrorism or hate crime.

"There is no indication that this is a terrorism act. There is no indication that this is a hate crime at this time. We haven't ruled anything out as we start our investigation," Evans was quoted as saying by the Canadian broadcaster CBC.

Three persons have suffered "critical blast injuries" and were rushed to a Toronto trauma centre, the report said.

Police said that the incident occurred at 'Bombay Bhel' restaurant in Mississauga, about 28 km from here.

Peel Regional Police said they received a call about the incident at 10:32 pm local time on Thursday (0800 IST on Friday).

Mississauga is Canada's sixth largest city.

Health officials have rushed 15 patients to hospitals, the police said.

Their injuries were "consistent with those of an explosion," said Brian Gibson, deputy chief at Peel Regional Paramedic Services.

Indian High Commissioner Vikas Swarup said 12 people aged 23 to 69 were taken to hospital last night and were released after primary care.  Consul General of India in Toronto visited the hospital to meet the wounded.

Local administration said there were children in the restaurant at the time of the explosion, but they were unhurt.

Canadian High Commissioner to India Nadir Patel wrote on Twitter: “We are following closely reports of an explosion at an Indian restaurant in #Mississauga, Ontario. At this time, our thoughts are with those injured in the blast and wishing for their speedy recovery”.

In New Delhi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that Indian missions in Canada are working round the clock after the blast.

Swaraj said she was in constant touch with India's consul general in Toronto and the high commissioner in Canada.

"I am in constant touch with our Consul General in Toronto and Indian High Commissioner in Canada. Our missions will work round the clock. The Emergency number is: +1-647-668-4108," she tweeted.

Police here said that two suspects detonated the improvised explosive device in the restaurant and fled.

"Two parties fled the scene immediately after the incident. First described as male, 5'10-6feet, stocky build, mid-20s, light skin, wearing dark blue jeans, dark zip up hoodie pulled over head, baseball cap with light grey peak, face covered with black cloth material," Peel Regional Police said in a tweet.

The police chief said that there is no evidence to term this incident as either terrorist attack or hate crime.

"Second male described as 5'9"-5'10", fair skin, thin build, faded blue jeans, dark zip-up hoodie hood pulled over head, grey t-shirt, dark coloured skate shoes, face covered. Looking for public's assistance in identifying the parties that fled following the explosion," it said in another tweet.

Police have issued CCTV footage of the two suspects.

It was not immediately known as how many people were inside the restaurant when the incident took place.

The motive for the attack was being investigated.

The shopping plaza in which the explosion took place has been sealed off, Peel Regional Police said in a tweet.

Rafael Conceicao, a student from Brazil, was on the patio of a restaurant close to Bombay Bhel when he heard the explosion, and rushed to help.

"Glass was broken in the street. There was a child's birthday party. Everything was destroyed. Lots of blood in the floor. Many people were screaming. They were trying to run out from the restaurant. There was a guy with glass inside his eyes. Many people were bleeding so much," Conceicao was quoted as saying by the report.

Andre Larrivee, who lives nearby, said he was watching television and heard a loud explosion.

"It was really loud," he said. PTI


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