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France launches terrorism probe over rally team blast in Saudi

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By Reuters

PARIS -French prosecutors said on Tuesday that they had launched a terrorism investigation after a French vehicle involved in the Paris-Dakar rally race in Saudi Arabia last week exploded, injuring one of the rally competitors.

In a statement, the prosecutors said the explosion happened on Dec. 30 in the Saudi city of Jeddah. It said five French nationals had been in the vehicle at the time of the blast.

French news outlet FranceInfo reported on Jan. 1 that an explosion hit a support vehicle being used by the French rally team Sodicars.

Citing race director David Castera, FranceInfo said the explosion happened as the support vehicle left the team hotel to head to the start of the race stage.

It said Philippe Boutron, co-driver of the team’s race car, suffered a serious leg injury and had to be hospitalised.