Baku, January 8, AZERTAC
France is considering canceling the Dakar rally after an explosion in Saudi Arabia that seriously injured a French driver and prosecutors are investigating a suspected terrorist attack, the foreign minister said on Friday, AFP reported.
French prosecutors said on Tuesday they had opened a terrorist investigation into a Dec. 30 explosion targeting a car in Jeddah, which left 61-year-old driver Philippe Boutron in need of surgery for serious leg injuries before his return in France.
“We thought it might be better to abandon this sporting event … the question remains open,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFM television, adding that “there was potentially a terrorist attack on the Dakar “.
The grueling race, formerly known as Paris-Dakar and now known as Dakar, was once staged from the French capital by following a route to Dakar, the Senegalese capital.
But security threats along its route in North Africa meant that from 2009 it took place in South America and from 2020 in Saudi Arabia.
National counterterrorism prosecutors said in a statement Tuesday that they had opened an investigation into “multiple attempted murder in connection with a terrorist group”.
The five occupants of the car, including the driver, were French.
One of the passengers, driver Thierry Richard, told AFP on Tuesday that he had no doubt the car had been deliberately targeted.
France has warned its citizens of Saudi Arabia to exercise “maximum vigilance – security risk” in the wake of the explosion.
“The possibility of a criminal act has not been ruled out,” the ministry said in updated guidelines on its website.
France regularly investigates crimes committed against its citizens abroad.
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