• This Friday morning a man appeared in the Saint-Etienne cathedral in Toulouse during mass to deposit a parcel bomb there.

  • The improvised explosive device, which did not include a firing system, was neutralized by the deminers without causing any injuries.

  • A 46-year-old man, residing in Balma, in the suburbs of Toulouse, was arrested in the middle of the day.

A 46-year-old man was arrested in Toulouse after the neutralization this Friday of an improvised explosive device deposited during mass in the Saint-Etienne cathedral.

20 Minutes

takes stock of these events which, if they did not cause any injuries, raised concern and emotion.

What happened during the 8 o'clock mass?

Around 8:40 a.m., forty minutes after the start of a mass which brought together around forty faithful, a man, whose face was partly hidden by a surgical mask, entered the cathedral through the door of the forecourt, on the prefecture side.

He walked up the aisle to place a package on the altar steps.

A sacristan, whose composure the Archbishop of Toulouse salutes, tried to surround him.

In vain.

The intruder fled the way he had arrived.

Father Jean-Jacques Rouchy, who officiated, immediately evacuated the building.

There was no panic.

What did this parcel bomb contain?

The deminers went into action while the police forces deployed a first security perimeter around the cathedral, which adjoins the prefecture.

The security zone on the forecourt side was widened around 10 a.m.

Because the package did not turn out to be trivial.

Few elements have filtered, but it did contain an improvised explosive device.

Without it being a priori connected to a firing system.

"Analyzes are in progress" but the Toulouse prosecutor's office confirms that the box introduced into the cathedral contained "acid and other elements".

What is the profile of the suspect?

The fugitive man – in jeans and a black parka and wearing a gray cap – was caught on city CCTV cameras.

Police investigators were able to quickly identify him.

He was arrested at 1.25 p.m. by the Research and Intervention Brigade (BRI) in Balma, in the suburbs of Toulouse, as he was returning to his home there.

Thanks to the mobilization of the national, municipal and Tisséo police, the suspect was arrested without any casualties.

Video protection takes on its full meaning and proves its effectiveness.

All my support to the faithful affected by this event.https://t.co/TWcTKFQ6uV

— Jean-Luc Moudenc (@jlmoudenc) April 8, 2022


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The 46-year-old man is already known to the courts for several common law cases.

Two of them gave rise to a dismissal for criminal irresponsibility, drawing the profile of a man suffering from psychological disorders.

The man, who is not on S or reported for radicalization, was placed in police custody.

But he had still not been questioned by mid-afternoon pending a medical green light.

The search carried out at his home did not find any elements that could suggest that he was preparing for acts of violence.

A parcel bomb in the cathedral of Toulouse, a suspect arrested

Second parcel bomb alert in Compiègne, confined high school students

  • Miscellaneous facts

  • Toulouse

  • Church

  • Explosive

  • Investigation

  • Occitania

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