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'IED' explosion in Toronto-area restaurant injures 15, two suspects sought

Two birthday parties were taking place at the restaurant at the time of the explosion and children were in attendance.
by Dennis Romero, Kimberly Flores Guzmán and Yuliya Talmazan /  / Updated 

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Fifteen people were injured by an intentional explosion at an Indian restaurant in a Toronto suburb Thursday night, authorities said.

Police said they were hunting for two men who are alleged to have walked into the Bombay Bhel restaurant and "detonated an improvised explosive device" before fleeing the restaurant in Mississauga, Ontario.

Peel Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans told reporters Friday morning there was no indication the incident was an act of terrorism or hate crime, although she did not suggest another motive.

"There is no indication that this is a terrorist act. There is no indication that this is a hate crime," she said, adding, "We have not ruled anything out."

The blast was first reported at 10:30 p.m. ET. All victims who had been hospitalized — including three who were originally listed as critically injured — were released by mid Friday afternoon, police said.

Evans said there were two birthday parties taking place at the restaurant at the time of the explosion, and children under the age of 10 were present but none were injured.

Police said the two suspects fled the scene immediately following the explosion and police across the region are looking for them. "Every available police resource is being used to locate the people responsible for this horrendous act," said Evans.

Canadian broadcaster CBC reported that Rafael Conceicao, a student from Sao Paulo, Brazil, was on the patio of a nearby restaurant when he heard the explosion, and rushed to help.

"Glass was broken in the street," he said. "There was a child's birthday party. Everything was destroyed. Lots of blood in the floor. Many people were screaming. Many people were bleeding so much."

Local resident Martin Cybelius, who lives around 2.5 miles south of the restaurant, told the Toronto Star that he experienced what felt like a “small earthquake.”

Evans said the scene has now been cleared to make sure there were no more explosive devices inside, but the area is still in lockdown as police continue to actively investigate the scene. She said the explosion had caused a considerable amount of damage to the restaurant.

Police are now looking for public's help to identify the two men as they search for more surveillance footage and speak to more witnesses.

One suspect was described as a man in his mid-20s, 5'10" to 6 feet tall, with stocky build and light skin. He was wearing dark blue jeans, baseball cap with light grey peak and a dark zip-up hoodie pulled over the head, with his face covered with black-cloth material, police said.

The other man was described as 5'9"-5'10" tall, with fair skin and thin build. Police said he was wearing faded blue jeans, dark zip-up hoodie hood pulled over his head, gray T-shirt, dark-colored shoes, and also had his face covered.

With a population of 700,000 people, Mississauga is Canada's sixth-largest city. It is situated on Lake Ontario about 20 miles west of Toronto.

Thursday's incident comes a month after a driver plowed a rental van into a lunch-hour crowd in Toronto, killing 10 people and injuring 15.

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