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Mali police refuse to speculate on embassy attack motive

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: Mali police say they can't confirm an al Qaeda connection to attack
  • A man fired a pistol into the French Embassy compound and then tossed a grenade
  • Police say that papers indicate the suspect was born in 1986
  • Police believe he acted alone; no motive in attack is known

(CNN) -- Police in Mali are refusing to speculate on possible motives for the attack on the French Embassy on Wednesday, an Africable TV journalist told CNN.

Journalist Sekou Tangara spoke with police in the capital, Bamako, about the arrest of the suspect. A junior police officer who was present told Tangara that the suspect admitted to arresting officers that he was from al Qaeda.

But a senior police officer involved with the investigation told the journalist later that he could not confirm that the suspect had ties to al Qaeda. Tangara said the officer would not speculate on the suspect's motivation.

Additionally, Tangara told CNN that papers obtained by authorities show the suspect was born in 1986, making him 24 or 25. However, police don't know whether the papers are authentic. Previous reports indicated the suspect was 40.

Police told Tangara that the suspect first fired a pistol into the compound of the French Embassy in Bamako. Shots were fired at about 6 p.m. (1 p.m. ET), Tangara reported. The suspect then threw the grenade. A Malian guard at the embassy was wounded, but his injuries were not thought to be life-threatening,

Police said the suspect acted alone and was captured quickly. He told police he was Tunisian and entered the North African nation in recent days, Tangara said. Investigators are examining a hotel room in the capital where they believe the man had been staying since arriving in Mali.

Tangara said that blackened walls from the grenade explosion and bullet holes in the walls are visible at the French Embassy. There has been no response to media inquiries, but a media briefing is expected Thursday morning.

Mali is a landlocked nation in West Africa.