Paris (AP) - In a heavy explosion in the middle of Paris, according to official figures on Saturday, two people were killed. The fatalities were firefighters, wrote French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Twitter on Saturday.
He then corrected his own earlier statements: On television, he had initially spoken of four dead. Speakers from the police and ministry confirmed to the German Press Agency that two people had died.
The blast took place Saturday around 9:00 am on Rue de Trévise, about one kilometer from the Paris Opera House. According to Tweet of the Interior Minister, 47 people were injured, ten of them seriously. Much spoke for an accident.
Originally, the fire department had been called to the site of the later explosion on suspicion of escaping gas, as a police spokeswoman said in the morning. Around 100 police officers and nearly 200 firefighters were in action, according to Interior Minister. The security authorities examined whether adjacent buildings were damaged and could pose a threat. The situation was under control, it was said in the morning.
TV pictures showed dense smoke that came from the building for hours. The glass panes in the area were ruptured by the force of the explosion, media reported. Local journalists said on TV that the scenery looks like a bombing raid. The area was cordoned off.
A resident of a nearby house told BFMTV, "I felt my house sway to its foundations for a second or two. I was wondering if there was an assassination, I was a bit scared. "
The explosion shook the 9th arrondissement in Paris shortly before announced demonstrations of the "yellow vests" in the capital. The authorities feared a renewed escalation of violence during the protests. Around 5000 security forces were deployed in Paris to secure the demonstrations. In recent weeks, protests by the movement had repeatedly come to violence and riots. Especially Paris was affected.
Also because of the terrorist attack in Strasbourg a month ago, there is high tension in France. On December 11, an assassin opened fire in downtown Alsace. Five people died, many more were injured.