1 Killed in Bomb Blast at McDonald's in France

From Times Wire Services

A bomb explosion ripped through a McDonald's in western France on Wednesday, killing an employee, shattering windows and blowing off part of the restaurant's roof.

The blast occurred at the drive-through windows in the rear section of the building in a shopping center near Dinan, rescue workers said.

The Breton Revolutionary Army, which is seeking greater autonomy for Brittany's Breton-speaking population, was suspected in the blast. The group has been blamed for an increasing number of attacks in recent months.

Irene Stoller, the head of France's special anti-terrorism judicial division, went to Dinan, about 200 miles west of Paris, for a brief inspection of the blast site.

Another small bomb was defused early Wednesday in front of a post office in downtown Rennes, 35 miles southeast of Dinan. The bomb contained three sticks of dynamite, police said.

A statement by Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement linked the Rennes bomb attempt and the McDonald's bombing. It noted that the death in the Dinan bombing would be the first fatality despite numerous attacks.

French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin expressed his condolences to the family of the victim and said that "nothing can justify these forms of blind terrorism." President Jacques Chirac also condemned the violence.

Rene Benoit, mayor of Dinan, said in a telephone interview that the woman killed was a 28-year-old relative of the owner of the franchise. She was near the back door of the restaurant and was thrown outdoors by the force of the bomb, he said.

"Dinan is a very calm town," Benoit said. "It has no link to the Breton independence movement, which some people say is linked to the attack."

Benoit called the bombing "unacceptable and scandalous."

"You can press your case in the streets, in the legislature, in the media, but not with bombs," he said. "It's not in our culture."

Judicial sources, speaking on condition their names not be used, said the dynamite used in the bomb defused in Rennes was part of a stock of nearly 8 tons of the explosive stolen in September from a company in the Breton town of Plevin.

Police later recovered about 5 tons of the dynamite and arrested nearly a dozen Breton and Basque separatists.

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