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Update: Paris hit by 2 attacks

[PARIS] A teenage student opened fire on Thursday at a high school in southeastern France injuring three people including the headmaster while an employee at the IMF building was hurt in a letter bomb blast.

The shooting in the school was carried out after the student had watched American-style mass shooting videos, the interior ministry said.

The youth, who was also carrying two handguns and two grenades, was arrested at the school. Checks were underway to establish whether there was a second assailant. "The first investigations suggest he had consulted American-style mass killings' videos," the spokesman said.

The incident, which does not appear to be linked to terrorism, comes with France on high alert after more than 230 people were killed in the past two years by attackers allied to the militant group Islamic State.

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With a presidential election less than six weeks away, the attack by the 17-year-old armed with a hunting rifle seemed likely to further stimulate debate on security and fears of terrorism which are among big campaign issues.

Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said three people had been injured, and five other people were in shock after the teenager opened fire with the rifle in a high school in the town of Grasse.

A police source said the youth arrested did not seem to be known to police.

Local emergency services used Twitter to advise residents of the town of about 50,000 inhabitants to stay at home. The government launched a mobile telephone application warning of a"terrorist" attack, although this is now automatic for any such incident.

Witnesses interviewed by local television described a scene of panic as the gunman entered the canteen with students rushing to hide under tables or sprinting for the exit. "It was total panic," Achraf, a student, said on BFM TV."The gunshots were at 4 to 5 metres from where we were. We thought the gunman was coming towards us. We heard him shouting. "I just know the gunman by sight. He was gentle and low-key key, not a nasty guy."

Separately, in Paris, a female employee of the IMF was injured in the face and arms when a letter bomb posted to the world lender's Paris office blew up as she opened it, police said.

The explosion was caused by a homemade device, said the head of the French capital's police force. "It was something that was fairly homemade," police chief Michel Cadot told reporters.

Mr Cadot said there had been some recent telephone threats but it was not clear if these were linked to the incident at the IMF's offices.

A police source said the woman who opened the letter suffered burns on her face and arms but her life was not in danger.

REUTERS

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