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France: Dakar Rally explosion in Saudi Arabia could be terror attack

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Brussels, Belgium on 15 November 2021 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Brussels, Belgium on 15 November 2021 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced on Friday that the explosion that caused critical injuries to a French driver could have been a "terror attack", French media reported.

He shared that his country was considering cancelling its participation in the rally organised in Saudi Arabia.

"We thought that maybe it's best to abandon this sporting event… the question remains open," Le Drian told BFM TV. "There was potentially a terror attack against the Dakar," he said.

France 24 reported French prosecutors stating on Tuesday that they had opened a terrorism probe over the blast on 30 December that caused serious injuries to French driver Philippe Boutron, 61.

Director of the race David Castera ruled out cancelling the rally due to the explosion. "We have tightened security in the tents and hotels, and around the starts and finishes," he added.

Associate professor at the Near East South Asia Centre for Security Studies David Des Roches explained: "The Saudis are getting these big events by overpaying, and that gives them stature on the world stage."

France 24 reported him adding: "After an attack like this, they'll have to overpay more."

READ: Iran ready to resume tension-easing talks with Saudi Arabia

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Europe & RussiaFranceMiddle EastNewsSaudi Arabia
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