A car bomb exploded outside a Jewish school in a Lyon suburb Thursday, minutes before 700 children ended classes for the day. Fourteen people were injured in the blast, the sixth bombing or attempted bombing in France in less than two months.
It was the first car bomb in France since 1982, apparently timed to explode at the closing bell, but officials said the school clock was running two minutes slow and the students were still inside the building.
"We can thank God that this attack did not cause total carnage," said Isaac Elhadad, the deputy chief rabbi of Lyon.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bomb in the Lyon suburb of Villeurbane, about 270 miles southeast of Paris. Police said they detained a man seen with two others just before the explosion.
The prime suspects in the other bombings are Algerian Muslim guerrillas who oppose France's support for the military-backed government in that North African nation, a former French colony.
Children were among the 14 injured in Thursday's explosion. The blast destroyed the car and started a blaze in an adjacent apartment, officials said.
French police have launched a nationwide effort to tighten security, sealing hundreds of trash receptacles, diverting trains, questioning tens of thousands of North African immigrants and searching more cars at border posts.
But, to the dismay of the French, those efforts have not halted the terrorist campaign. In the past week, a bomb found in a pay toilet in Paris was defused and another exploded at an outdoor market, causing several injuries.
The first bomb in the current wave exploded July 25 at a regional subway station in central Paris, killing seven. Another exploded Aug. 17 near the Arc de Triomphe, injuring 17. And on Aug. 26, police found a bomb planted on a high-speed train track north of Lyon.
All three of those bombs were camping-gas canisters wrapped in bolts and nails, authorities said.
The investigation has focused on the Armed Islamic Group, the most radical Muslim organization fighting the Algerian government. And the blasts in France have coincided with an increase in terrorist attacks in Algeria.