France on High Alert After Heavily Armed Student Opens Fire in High School, Letter Bomb Explodes at IMF

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By Nahema Marchal | 11:57 am, March 16, 2017
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A 17 year-old student has been arrested after opening fire at a high school in the French Riviera, injuring eight people and prompting the government to issue a terror warning.

Police said the student was carrying one revolver, a hand gun, a hunting rifle and two “training” grenades when he entered the Alexis de Tocqueville college in the small southern French town of Grasse and opened fire early Thursday morning.

The headmaster was shot in the arm while one student was hit by a ricochet, the Telegraph reports.

Other students were lightly injured as they hastily tried to escape the building.

Police cordoned off the area and warned residents on Twitter to stay at home before apprehending the 17 year-old shooter. He is apparently “unknown to security services”.

According to Le Monde, his motives are still unknown, however, one police source said he was “fascinated” by mass shootings like the 1999 Columbine massacre and had recently been watching videos about it.

A French police message alert is displayed on a mobile phone, saying "attacks alert".
Source: Twitter

The French government immediately issued of a nationwide “terror” warning using the SAIP smartphone app system deployed after the November 2015 coordinated terrorist attacks across Paris that killed 130 people.

Christian Estrosi, the president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region nonetheless told the press that, at this point, nothing indicates the shooting was in any way terror-related.

The incident sent shockwaves throughout the country,  where school shootings are extremely rare.

France is still reeling from a string of terror attacks by Islamic extremists that claimed the lives of 235 peoples over the past two years.

Earlier on Thursday, one woman was lightly injured at the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund in Paris after an envelope exploded in her hands, according to local police.

The incident happened at the IMF’s Paris office. Source: Gettty

A secretary who opened the letter was hit in the face by shrapnel and hurt her eardrum because of a “rather violent noise,” Paris police chief Michel Cadot said.

Staff from the office were evacuated and armed military officers descended on the building,  situated in a chic district of western Paris. The French chapter of the World Bank office is in the same compound.

It is as yet unclear who sent the letter, which sounded like a “big firecracker” Cadot said, but authorities are investigating the incident.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde condemned the stunt as “a cowardly act of violence”.

French President Francois Hollande told reporters: “We are again confronted with an attack. There is no other word for it when you are confronted with a package bomb.”

Cadot said the IMF had received threatening phone calls in the past few days but cannot confirm they are related to Thursday’s incident.