Mohamed Hichem Medjoub

Mohamed Hichem Medjoub is an Algerian national who carried out the Lyon bakery bombing on May 24, 2019. The attack injured at least 13 people.Aurelien Breeden, “Explosive Device in French City of Lyon Injures at Least 13,” New York Times, May 24, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/24/world/europe/lyon-france-explosion.html.

After completing a degree in computer science in Algeria, Medjoub arrived in France on a tourist visa in August 2017. Sometime after his arrival, Medjoub failed to gain entry to a Lyon university because he did not have an appropriate visa to continue his studies in France.Samuel Petrequin, “Lyon bomb suspect had pledged allegiance to IS,” Associated Press, May 31, 2019, https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/lyon-bomb-suspect-pledged-allegiance-63394685; Victor Mallet, “Man held for Lyon parcel bomb confesses link to Islamic State,” Financial Times, May 30, 2019, https://www.ft.com/content/e8b63f0a-82ea-11e9-b592-5fe435b57a3b. Medjoub reportedly worked as a supervisor at the Lycée Ampère in Lyon.Victor Mallet, “Man held for Lyon parcel bomb confesses link to Islamic State,” Financial Times, May 30, 2019, https://www.ft.com/content/e8b63f0a-82ea-11e9-b592-5fe435b57a3b.

On May 24, 2019, Medjoub detonated a homemade bomb containing screws, ball bearings, and acetone peroxide—a compound previously used in the deadly Paris terror attacks of November 2015—near a bakery on a busy street in central Lyon. The attack injured at least 13 people. Witnesses reportedly saw Medjoub with a bicycle dropping off a bag in front of the bakery. Police did not immediately apprehend Medjoub, but after reviewing surveillance footage and discovering some of his DNA on the bomb, police arrested him three days later on May 27 just south of Lyon.Aurelien Breeden, “Explosive Device in French City of Lyon Injures at Least 13,” New York Times, May 24, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/24/world/europe/lyon-france-explosion.html; “French police hunt suitcase bomber after blast in Lyon,” Reuters, May 24, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-security-lyon/french-police-hunt-suitcase-bomber-after-blast-in-lyon-idUSKCN1SU1Z7; “French police arrest four over Lyon bomb blast,” Agence France-Presse, May 27, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/27/french-police-arrest-three-over-lyon-bomb-blast.

Upon investigation of his family’s home, French police discovered batteries and chemicals similar to those used in the explosive device. Additionally, screws, ball bearings, four remote control devices, and a water bottle with traces of acetone peroxide were found in the building's garbage bins.“French attack suspect charged and detained,” France 24, May 31, 2019, https://www.france24.com/en/20190531-french-attack-suspect-charged-detained.

Medjoub allegedly told investigators that he had pledged allegiance in his “heart of hearts” to ISIS.Samuel Petrequin, “Lyon bomb suspect had pledged allegiance to IS,” Associated Press, May 31, 2019, https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/lyon-bomb-suspect-pledged-allegiance-63394685. After analyzing Medjoub’s computer, investigators alleged that Medjoub demonstrated an interest for “jihadi thesis and IS’s activities.”Erin Ogunkeye, “Lyon blast suspect appears before anti-terror judge,” France 24, May 30, 2019, https://www.france24.com/en/20190530-lyon-bombing-suspect-police-terrorist-jihad.

On May 31, 2019, French authorities charged Medjoub with attempted terrorist murder, criminal association, and building an explosive for terrorist purposes.“French attack suspect charged and detained,” France 24, May 31, 2019, https://www.france24.com/en/20190531-french-attack-suspect-charged-detained. Medjoub remains in detention.

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