A terrorism inquiry has been launched by French authorities into an explosion in Saudi Arabia that injured a French driver ahead of the Dakar Rally.
French prosecutors announced on Tuesday that they have begun a terror investigation into a blast in Saudi Arabia on December 30 that injured a French driver competing in the Dakar rally.
According to reports from the team and race officials, the blast hit a support vehicle belonging to the French team Sodicars shortly after it left its Jeddah hotel for the race course, injuring driver Philippe Boutron.
According to a representative from France’s national anti-terror prosecutor’s office, an inquiry into an attempted assassination “connected to a terrorist business” has been launched.
The French driver was “seriously injured,” according to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while the five passengers, all of whom were French, were “unharmed.” The driver was returned to the Percy Military Hospital in Clamart on Monday, according to Sodicars.
“He was immediately taken care of by medical teams, and is in the hands of experts, accompanied by his family… His legs were smashed up by the explosion and he was placed in an artificial coma in order to alleviate his suffering,” Sodicars said in a statement released Tuesday.
The injured driver’s son, a sports journalist, told French radio station RMC that his father is out of the coma.
Dakar Rally organizers stated the event had nothing to do with racing, and Saudi police said there was no criminal investigation into the explosion.
On the other hand, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an affirmation warning that “the terrorist threat persists in Saudi Arabia. It is highly recommended to exercise maximum vigilance in daily life, in particular when travelling.”