8 hurt in French school shooting

17-year-old student arrested after he opened fire inside the school in Grasse.

8 hurt in French school shooting
A 17-year-old student has been arrested after opening fire in a school in the southern French town of Grasse, injuring eight persons and prompting the government to issue a terror warning.

The student, carrying two hand guns, a hunting rifle and two "training" grenades, entered the Alexis de Tocqueville school and opened fire on Thursday morning, the local media reported.

The headmaster was among the eight people injured in the attack, confirmed the French Interior Ministry. The headmaster was reportedly stabbed in the hand. There was conflicting information about whether a second suspect was on the run, with police initially said that they were looking for an accomplice. Another police source said the shooter acted alone.

According to a statement from the Grasse town hall, "two pupils shot at the principal."

All schools in the town some 40 kilometres west of the Riviera resort of Nice have been locked down, education authorities said.

France is still in a state of emergency after a series of terror attacks including an IS-claimed massacre in Paris in November 2015 in which 130 people died and a truck attack in Nice in July last year.

Authorities in the jittery nation have bolstered security outside schools.

More than 3,000 reservists were called up to help keep watch outside the country's 64,000 primary and secondary schools for the return to the school year in September.

The shooting comes less than six weeks ahead of a two- round presidential election on April 23 and May 7.

A crisis cell has been put in place, education official Emmanuel Ethis said on Twitter.

Ethis urged worried parents not to travel to the school, saying that "pupils are safe".

The French government initiated an attack alert via smartphone in the wake of the shooting.

Local officials said that several pupils had fled and sought refuge in a nearby supermarket "which created panic and rumours of an attack".

"The other pupils have been asked to stay in the school and not panic," local officials said. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve cut short a trip to the northern Somme area because of the Grasse shooting, as well as a letter bomb blast at the offices of the International Monetary Fund in Paris on Thursday.

The education minister was also on her way to the school. Police have arrested the shooter who was "unknown to security services". They said that he had recently viewed videos of American school shootings. According to the local media, the shooting was linked to a "dispute between students". It said that two teenagers entered the school and tried to shoot a third student. One of the pair managed to escape.

One injured in IMF office explosion

One person was injured on Thursday after an explosion at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters in Paris, security sources said. The woman had opened a parcel addressed to a senior IMF official that contained an explosive substance, which burnt her hands and face. Investigators said the device was a "large black cylinder, about 30cm long", with the blast so large the room's ceiling was hit by shrapnel.


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