Canadian authorities are searching for two suspects after an improvised explosive device detonated at a crowded restaurant in Ontario, injuring at least 15 people, three of whom suffered critical injuries from the blast.
Police said there were no immediate indications that the explosion late Thursday at an Indian restaurant in Mississauga was a hate crime or had possible terrorist links. But it remained unclear why the restaurant was targeted, Peel Regional Police media relations officer Constable Iryna Yashnyk told The Washington Post.
Police said two men walked into the Bombay Bhel restaurant Thursday night in Mississauga, a city neighboring Toronto, planted the IED and ran from the scene, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Then at about 10:30 p.m., it exploded, shattering glass and sending bleeding diners running for cover, according to the news organization.
“Glass was broken in the street … everything was destroyed. Lots of blood in the floor,” Rafael Concaceicao told CBC News. “Many people were screaming. They were trying to run out from the restaurant.”
One person told Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News that the blast sounded like an electric generator exploding.
Another person told the Toronto Star that it “felt like a mini earthquake.”
“After hearing that it was a bomb blast, it brings shiver down my spine,” Vikram Mann told the newspaper.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie later called it “a heinous, reprehensible act, committed by cowards.”
“Whoever has committed this heinous act needs to answer for their crimes and be brought to justice,” she said, her hands shaking, according to the Toronto Star. “This is not the Mississauga that I know.”
Peel Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans said Friday during a news conference that “every available police resource is being used to locate the people responsible for this horrendous act.”
No one was killed in the blast. Police said the three victims who were critically injured are in stable condition.
Following the horrific incident, authorities recovered security camera video of two attackers. One was described by police as between 5-foot-10 and 6 feet with a stocky build and in his mid-20s. The other, also about 5-foot-10, was wearing faded blue jeans and a dark zip-up hoodie. Both men had their faces covered.
Shitan Yan, who was grocery shopping nearby, told CBC News that he heard the exposition and saw two men running “like crazy.”
“They looked back for a while and then just kept running,” he added.
Peel Regional paramedic Joe Korstanje told CBC that the three critically injured people had been taken to a nearby trauma center. The remaining 12 victims suffered minor and superficial injuries, Korstanje said.
Those with noncritical injuries are receiving treatment at local hospitals, Yashnyk said.
In the aftermath of the explosion, numerous police vehicles and ambulances surrounded the restaurant, which was cordoned off with yellow tape. Bombay Bhel is located in what Yashnyk described as a “local convenience plaza,” which has other restaurants and small businesses.
Authorities have not released a possible motive.
This report has been updated.