MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — Investigators on Friday were looking for two people who detonated a pail filled with projectiles inside a crowded Indian restaurant near Toronto late Thursday, wounding 15 people, three of them critically.
Chief Jennifer Evans of the Peel Regional Police called the bombing “horrendous,” but said there was no immediate indication that it was related to terrorism or a hate crime.
The blast took place around 10:30 p.m. at the Bombay Bhel restaurant in Mississauga, Ontario, a large city just west of Toronto. Sgt. Matt Bertram said the assailants had entered the restaurant and put down what appeared to be a pail or a paint can, which then exploded as the two fled down the street.
Rafael Concaceicao, a student from São Paulo, Brazil, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that he was on the patio of a nearby restaurant when he heard the explosion at Bombay Bhel. He rushed to help, he said.
“Many people were screaming,” he told the broadcaster. “They were trying to run out from the restaurant. There was a guy with glass inside his eyes. Many people were bleeding so much.”
Two suspects were seen fleeing the restaurant in a vehicle, Chief Evans said, and she appealed to the public for any information, including photographs or videos of the scene.
The three people who had been critically hurt were in stable condition on Friday, she said. Most of those with less serious injuries were treated at hospitals and released, the police said.
Two birthday parties with children present were taking place at the restaurant when the attack occurred, Chief Evans said, although no children were hurt.
The bombing comes just a month after the driver of a van plowed into pedestrians in Toronto, killing 10 people and injuring 14 more. The suspect in that attack, Alek Minassian, intentionally struck the victims in what was likely to count as Canada’s deadliest vehicular assault, the police said.
Sergeant Bertram said that the suspects in Thursday’s attack were men who wore hoodies pulled over their heads, as well as face coverings. A police canine unit and SWAT team tried to track them, “but we didn’t come up with anybody,” he said.
The bomb, which the police described as an improvised explosive device, was filled with “projectable objects,” Sergeant Bertram said.
The police released a photo of the suspects, and officials were examining video evidence and interviewing witnesses to try to find them. The police did not yet have a motive for the attack, but said they had no reason to suspect terrorism or a hate crime.
Mississauga, on Lake Ontario, is a city of more than 700,000 people. It has a large immigrant population and is the sixth-largest municipality in Canada.
The restaurant is at the corner of a low-rise mall that takes up a suburban block, at one of the city’s main intersections. The area was sealed after the explosion. Photos posted on social media showed armed police officers at the scene with sniffer dogs, and television footage showed an injured woman limping away from the restaurant after the blast.
The restaurant is on Hurontario Street, which is the main thoroughfare of Mississauga. The city is rapidly transforming from a sleepy suburban area into an urban center, with new condominiums rising near the site of the blast.
Bonnie Crombie, the mayor of Mississauga, sent her condolences to the wounded. “This is not the Mississauga I know,” she said.
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