Police acting on a warning Tuesday found a bundle of dynamite inside a Paris department store at the height of the Christmas season, and a group demanding that France withdraw from Afghanistan claimed responsibility.
Sticks of dynamite tied together but without a detonator were found in the Printemps department store, a favored shopping destination for tourists, and a Christmas season attraction because of its festive window displays.
Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said the explosives appeared “relatively old.” Police said they were found in the third floor restroom of the menswear department. Five sticks were found together, officials said.
“There was no risk of explosion,” the minister said.
French news agency Agence France-Presse said it received a letter Tuesday morning from a group calling itself the Afghan Revolutionary Front saying that several bombs had been planted in the store. Police said they searched the store and found the dynamite because of the warning.
Alliot-Marie said the group was “totally unknown” to police but that the claim was being studied.
In the letter, the group demanded the withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan before the end of February, and threatened attacks if France refuses.
“Otherwise we will go back into action in your big capitalist stores and this time without warning you,” the letter said, according to AFP.