The French Justice investigates the explosion in the Paris-Dakar rally as an attack

FILE PHOTO-Dakar Rally, January 6, 2020 REUTERS / Hamad I Mohammed / File Photo (HAMAD I MOHAMMED /)

The French Justice investigates as a terrorist attack the explosion of last December 30 near Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) that affected an assistance vehicle of the Paris-Dakar rally and that he wounded his pilot, Frenchman Philippe Boutron.

The National Antiterrorist Prosecutor’s Office indicated this Tuesday in a statement that it has opened a preliminary investigation for “attempted assassinations in relation to a terrorist organization.”

The affected vehicle was occupied by five other French. The investigations are in the hands of the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI, the secret services).

The organization of the test, ASO, indicated in a statement collected on Saturday by the newspaper Le Monde that the pilot was injured in the leg and had to undergo surgery in Saudi Arabia.

The same day, the French Foreign Ministry urged its nationals in that country to “maximum vigilance” and hinted that the hypothesis of a criminal act was not ruled out, in addition to recalling that “the terrorist threat persists in Saudi Arabia.”

Safety in the Dakar Rally camps
Safety in the Dakar Rally camps

The Saudi Interior Ministry, for its part, described what happened as an “accident” and did not consider any suspicions about a possible “criminal origin” of the explosion, according to Le Monde on its website.

The rally director, David Castera, had specified in the chain France 4 that the affected car was a support vehicle of the French Sodicars team, and that the deflagration occurred at the time the various technical checks were to be carried out before the race.

On the other hand, the organization of the Dakar increased the security of the event after the explosion.

The full statement of the organization:

“Following last Thursday’s press release about an event involving a service car on December 29 in Jeda, we added information. The car was carrying six passengers. Five of them got out of the vehicle unharmed and only the driver of the car suffered serious leg injuries and had to undergo surgery. His condition is improving and his repatriation to France is being prepared”.

(With information from EFE)

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