Dakar rally car blast caused by improvised explosive device

An explosion under a support vehicle at the Dakar rally in Saudi Arabia that injured French race driver Philippe Boutron on December 30 was caused by an improvised explosive device, French radio RTL reported on its website, quoting police and security sources.

RTL said that French investigators had found traces of explosives on the wrecked vehicle. French anti-terrorism prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation into the explosion in January.

The French investigators did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said there were "hypotheses that it was a terrorist attack," but Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry said on Jan. 8 that an initial investigation into the blast had not raised any criminal suspicions.

A second potentially suspicious explosion, under a truck belonging to the team of Franco-Italian rally competitor Camelia Liparoti on December 31, is also under investigation by French police.

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