A powerful explosion at an Indian restaurant in Canada's Ontario province injured 15 people, three of them seriously, when two unidentified men detonated an improvised explosive device, police said today.
Two suspects with their faces covered entered the Bombay Bhel restaurant late last night, dropped the device and fled, police said.
In an early morning media briefing, Peel Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans said that there is no indication that the explosion was an act of terrorism or hate crime.
"There is no indication that this is a terrorism act. There is no indication that this is a hate crime at this time. We haven't ruled anything out as we start our investigation," Evans said.was quoted as saying by the Canadian broadcaster CBC.
Three persons who suffered "critical blast injuries" are now in stable condition, the police said in a statement.
A 35-year-old man from Brampton, a 62 year-old woman from Mississauga, and a 48-year-old woman from Mississauga were taken to a Toronto Trauma Centre where they remain in stable condition, it added.
Twelve other victims ranging in age from 23 to 69 years old were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries, and have been treated and released.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and to their families. We know this is an extremely difficult time for them," said Evans.
"I want the community to know that every available police resource is being used to locate the people responsible for this horrendous act," she added.
Police said that the incident occurred at the restaurant in Mississauga, about 28 kms from here.
Peel Regional Police said they received a call about the incident at 10:32 PM (local time yesterday), (0800 IST today).
Mississauga is Canada's sixth largest city.
Health officials have rushed 15 patients to hospitals, the police said.
Their injuries were "consistent with those of an explosion," said Brian Gibson, deputy chief at Peel Regional Paramedic Services.
In New Delhi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that Indian missions in Canada are working round the clock after the blast.
Swaraj said she was in constant touch with India's consul general in Toronto and the high commissioner in Canada.
"I am in constant touch with our Consul General in Toronto and Indian High Commissioner in Canada. Our missions will work round the clock. The Emergency number is : +1-647-668-4108," she tweeted.
Police here said that two suspects detonated the improvised explosive device in the restaurant and fled.
"Two parties fled the scene immediately after the incident. First described as male, 5'10-6feet, stocky build, mid-20s, light skin, wearing dark blue jeans, dark zip up hoodie pulled over head, baseball cap with light grey peak, face covered with black cloth material," Peel Regional Police said in a tweet.
"Second male described as 5'9"-5'10", fair skin, thin build, faded blue jeans, dark zip-up hoodie hood pulled over head, grey t-shirt, dark coloured skate shoes, face covered. Looking for public's assistance in identifying the parties that fled following the explosion," it said in another tweet.
Police have issued CCTV footage of the two suspects.
It was not immediately known as how many people were inside the restaurant when the incident took place.
The motive for the attack was being investigated.
The shopping plaza in which the explosion took place has been sealed off, Peel Regional Police said in a tweet.
Rafael Conceicao, a student from Brazil, was on the patio of a restaurant close to Bombay Bhel when he heard the explosion, and rushed to help.
"Glass was broken in the street. There was a child's birthday party. Everything was destroyed. Lots of blood in the floor. Many people were screaming. They were trying to run out from the restaurant. There was a guy with glass inside his eyes. Many people were bleeding so much," Conceicao was quoted as saying by the report.
Andre Larrivee, who lives nearby, said he was watching television and heard a loud explosion.
"It was really loud," he said.