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1 of 2 bombing suspects in Mississauga restaurant explosion may be a woman: police

Peel police not ruling out possibility of female suspect in restaurant bombing
Peel Police Superintendent Rob Ryan told reporters Tuesday that Peel Police have not ruled out the possibility one of the two suspects wanted in connection with the restaurant bombing is a woman.

Peel Regional Police say one of two suspects wanted in connection with the Mississauga restaurant explosion last Thursday may be a woman.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Peel Regional Police Supt. Rob Ryan told reporters the two suspects, originally believed to both be men, fled the Bombay Bhel restaurant eastbound on foot after allegedly detonating an improvised explosive device (IED) inside.

Officers and paramedics were called to the restaurant, which is located in a plaza north of Hurontario Street and Eglinton Avenue, at around 10:30 p.m. with reports of an explosion.

WATCH: Peel police provide update on investigation into Mississauga restaurant explosion. Caryn Lieberman reports.

Peel police provide update on investigation into Mississauga restaurant explosion
Peel police provide update on investigation into Mississauga restaurant explosion

Ryan said there were approximately 30 people, including Bombay Bhel workers, inside the restaurant at the time of the blast, which investigators now believe was caused by a homemade IED..

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Fifteen people were injured in the blast. Three people were taken to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto in critical condition. Their conditions improved in the hours following the explosion and they were released from hospital on Friday. Twelve people were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries and released shortly after.

READ MORE: Police no longer at scene of Mississauga restaurant explosion, suspects still at large

Investigators finished their work at the scene on Sunday. The motive behind the incident is still “not clear,” Ryan said.

“We do not have a clear motive and no one has claimed responsibility,” he said, adding there is a full-time taskforce working on what he called a “complex” case.

Early on Friday, investigators released a surveillance photo of the two suspects, originally believed to be men. Due to evidence from witnesses and video obtained, Ryan said investigators believe one to be a woman but cannot yet confirm the information.

WATCH: Peel Police release photo of route taken by bombing suspects

Peel Police release photo of route taken by bombing suspects
Peel Police release photo of route taken by bombing suspects

The first suspect is described as being five-foot-10 to six feet tall and having a stocky build. They were last seen wearing dark blue jeans, a dark zip-up hoodie pulled over their head, a light grey baseball hat and black cloth covering their face.

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The second suspect is described by police as being five-foot-nine to five-foot-10 and having a thin build. They were last seen wearing faded blue jeans, a dark zip-up hoodie pulled over their head, a grey T-shirt and dark-coloured skate shoes. Police said their face was covered.

“[The suspects] went to great lengths to hide their identities,” Ryan said.

WATCH: Peel police release updated description of restaurant bombing suspects

Peel police establish dedicated task force to investigate restaurant bombing
Peel police establish dedicated task force to investigate restaurant bombing

There is nothing in the investigation at this time to suggest the incident was an act of terrorism or if anyone inside the restaurant was targeted.

“When we first had the incident happen, we had a number of agencies’ we looked to to provide us with information. Our intelligence unit was on scene that night, they liaised with other agencies around the GTA and province and gave them what they had by way of details,” Ryan said. “We don’t have any messages during the incident, before the incident from these individuals, no conversation that we are aware of.”

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“That’s why we’re are saying at this point that we have nothing to suggest it was terrorism or a hate crime.”

READ MORE: Mississauga restaurant blast: What we know about the explosion so far

When asked by a reporter, Ryan also said there is no reason to believe the incident was in relation to a family or owner dispute connected to the restaurant.

Investigators believe there are people who know the suspects or who may be assisting them and that “it’s time for them to do the right thing and come forward.”

Police have set up a designated tip line. Anyone with information or video can contact 1-866-966-06161.

WATCH: Peel police explain why they have not declared restaurant bombing to be act of terror

Peel police explain why they have not declared restaurant bombing to be act of terror
Peel police explain why they have not declared restaurant bombing to be act of terror

Investigators believe the suspects fled eastbound along Armdale Road, through a construction field right up to Thornwood Drive and Forum Drive – that is where the canine unit lost their scent.

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Anyone with surveillance images or dash-cam footage along that route is asked to contact police.