Group claims responsibility for Quebec blast

Quebec provincial police say they are taking seriously a claim of responsibility for an explosion early Friday at a Canadian Forces recruitment centre in Trois-Rivières.

Résistance Internationaliste has been linked to 2 previous attacks

Police survey the area near the bombed-out Armed Forces recruitment centre in Trois-Rivières, Que. No one was in the office at the time of the explosion. ((Sylvain Mayer/Canadian Press))

Quebec provincial police say they are taking seriously a claim of responsibility for an explosion early Friday at a Canadian Forces recruitment centre in Trois-Rivières.

A group calling itself Résistance Internationaliste sent a statement to the newspaper La Presse saying it was responsible for the blast, according to the paper.

The group, which has previously claimed responsibility for two other attacks in Quebec, claims it is against the militaristic ideals and practices of the Canadian government.

In portions of the statement published on the paper's website, the group said it aims to "ensure that political, economic and military powers cannot continue their enterprise of indoctrination justifying their imperialist venture, without impunity."

"The Canadian government is not content to merely submit us to the merchant oligarchy and to deliver it our resources, it demands that we enslave other people," the group said. "Suffering the effects of the dangers of gas exportation is not enough, we have to secure a pipeline route (TAPI) on Afghan territory.

"The soldiers of the Canadian Army, let it be very clear, they are not 'ours', they belong to the one to whom they foolishly pledge allegiance, Her Majesty Elisabeth II."

Group known to police

Provincial police have confirmed they are investigating, though they have refused to name the group believed to be responsible.

"The group that claimed responsibility is known [by] our police force,"  said Sgt. Éloise Cossette. "It is a group that we are investigating and will continue to do so."

Police have cordoned off phone booths in the Trois-Rivières area where the explosion took place at an Armed forces recruitment office. ((CBC))

In 2004, the group, which used to be known as the Initiative de résistance internationaliste, or internationalist resistance initiative, said it was responsible for bombing a Hydro-Québec tower close to the U.S. border on the eve of a visit by U.S. president George W. Bush.

In 2006, the group also claimed responsibility for the firebombing of a car owned by a prominent oil-industry executive. That incident happened in the town of Lorraine, northwest of Montreal.

Police received warning call

Twenty minutes before Friday's blast, Quebec provincial police confirmed that Trois-Rivières police received a call warning them of a bomb.

The investigation was transferred to provincial police.

The blast, which blew out the glass doors of the office, happened around 3 a.m. ET Friday.

"I was almost asleep and I heard a big blast and I [thought] it was thunder or a gas line or something like that," said a man living nearby.

Another man said it brought back bad memories of the October Crisis in the 70s.

"The FLQ and all that," André Marcoux said. "It reminds me that it could all start again. We never know."

Officials said that at the time of the incident, no one was in the office, which is adjacent to a bus terminal and hotel.

Police quickly set up a large security perimeter.

Investigators are working to determine what actually set off the blast.

Some nearby phone booths have also been wrapped in police tape and police have been using dogs to search the area.

One person was arrested for hindering the work of police officers.

The Canadian Forces said service at the Trois-Rivières recruitment office would resume as soon as possible.

The "unfortunate" event is being considered as an "isolated incident," spokesman Andre McKelvey said in a statement.

Nonetheless, he confirmed, security measures are being stepped up at other recruitment centres.

"We have no information at this time to make us believe that such an incident may happen at other Canadian Forces installations,"  McKelvey said. "We remain vigilant."