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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 December 2006, 15:58 GMT
Paris riot probe confirms chase
Firemen douse a burning car in the suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois on 4 November 2005
The youths' deaths led to rioting in suburbs across France
An internal report by the French police has confirmed that police were chasing two youths whose deaths sparked riots across the country, a lawyer said.

Jean-Pierre Mignard, who is representing the boys' families, said the report criticised officers for failing to prevent their deaths.

Teenagers Bouna Traore and Zyed Benna were electrocuted at a sub-station in a Paris suburb in October 2005.

Their deaths triggered three weeks of violence in suburbs across France.

Mr Mignard said the report, by the police investigation service IGS, found officers had behaved "thoughtlessly, with surprising absent-mindedness".

'Failure to assist'

The report confirmed - based on radio exchanges at the time - that police chased the boys into the electricity sub-station in Clichy-sous-Bois, something police had initially denied.

It said officers took no action to ensure the boys' safety in the site - including alerting power provider Electricite de France, although it says that this might not necessarily have saved their lives.

The document - parts of which were published by the French newspaper Le Monde - has been passed to the judge investigating the case.

Five police officers have been questioned as part of a probe into "failure to assist a person in danger", the French news agency AFP reports.

The weeks of violence that followed the boys' deaths highlighted tensions in mainly poor suburbs with large immigrant populations.

During the clashes - between youths mainly of North African origin and police - more than 10,000 cars were set ablaze and 300 buildings firebombed.

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