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Homemade bomb in Mississauga, Ont., restaurant blast contained nails, police say

An explosive device detonated at a popular Indian restaurant in Mississauga, Ont., on Thursday contained nails, suggesting it was likely intended to maximize injuries, police say.

Materials in explosive device likely intended to maximize injuries, suspects still at large

A bomb blast at an Indian restaurant in Mississauga, Ont., injured 15 people on Thursday night. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

An explosive device detonated at a popular Indian restaurant in Mississauga, Ont., on Thursday contained nails, suggesting it was likely intended to maximize injuries, police say.

Peel Regional Police confirmed to CBC News that nails were packed in the device. Supt. Rob Ryan told reporters at a news conference Tuesday the bomb is believed to have been homemade. 

Ryan also elaborated on the two suspects who escaped on foot before getting into an unidentified vehicle, saying police now believe one may have been female. Both were initially believed to be male.

The pair have still not been identified, so no charges have been laid. But Ryan said Tuesday the charges will include attempted murder.

Ryan said that investigators are no closer to determining a motive for the bombing, and that nobody has taken responsibility for it. 

In the hours following the news conference, police released this video of the pair fleeing eastbound from the area. One suspect can be seen running through a residential area in the dark, with the second following more slowly moments later.

Peel police were called to the Bombay Bhel restaurant at 5035 Hurontario St. at approximately 10:30 p.m. Thursday about reports of an explosion and multiple injuries. Approximately 40 people were inside at the time, including a number of children under the age of 10.

In all, 15 people were injured — three of whom suffered "critical blast injuries," according to paramedics. All have since been released from hospital. The restaurant itself sustained a "considerable amount of damage," Peel police Chief Jennifer Evans said.

Special task force established

Within hours of the incident, police released a photo of two suspects wearing hoodies, who they say detonated the explosive inside the restaurant.
Police are still searching for two suspects caught on security camera, who they say fled the scene immediately after the blast. (Peel Regional Police/Twitter)

The revelation that one of the pair could be female, Ryan said, came from "evidence that's coming to light through witnesses and some other video."

Other evidence, including a scent trail picked up by police dogs, has allowed officers to partially trace the route taken by the suspects as they ran from the restaurant. 
Police released this image of the route the suspects took as they fled immediately following the attack. (Peel Regional Police)

So far, forensic experts have photographed the restaurant and collected physical evidence including fingerprints and DNA. That information will be sent to the province's Centre of Forensic Science for further analysis. Explosives experts have analyzed the blast site and scoured the area to look for other possible devices.

Police continue to canvas surrounding areas and search for additional witnesses and video surveillance. 

On Monday, police said they had completed their work at the restaurant, which remains closed until further notice. Three other locations remain open, reads a statement on the Bombay Bhel website.

Police have also established a dedicated task force to work on the case, which has its own, dedicated phone number for people calling with tips.

That task force can be reached at 1-866-966-0616.

"We know there are people out there who know who did this," said Ryan. 

Witness describes blast scene

Witnesses to the explosion described hearing a loud explosion. Tactical teams were seen outside the restaurant as injured restaurant-goers were loaded into ambulances.

Rafael Conceicao, a student from Sao Paulo, Brazil, was on the patio of a restaurant close to the Bombay Bhel when he heard the explosion and rushed to help. 
A bomb blast at an Indian restaurant in Mississauga, Ont., injured 15 people last week. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

"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."

Evans has said there is no indication that the explosion was a terrorist act or a hate crime. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said last week there appeared to be no "nexus to national security" connected to the incident, but that investigators have not yet ruled anything out.