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France appears to have been struck by a barrage of incendiary iPhones - and the country's official consumer affairs organisation is to investigate the matter.

According to local news agency AFP, six new cases of exploding Apple handsets have come to light this week in addition to two previous incidents reported earlier this summer.

The latest was an 80-year-old Parisian, Rolland Caufman, of Noisy-le-Sec, who claimed his iPhone's screen cracked in his hands.

"I went out shopping, with my iPhone in my left pocket, when I suddenly felt it heat up and start vibrating - even though I never use the vibrate setting. I took it out of my pocket and held it to my ear - and saw the screen crack up like a car windscreen," he told AFP.

Yesterday, a security guard alleged his iPhone's screen shattered and damaged his eye.

That's the same claim made by a French teenager earlier this month. The remaing five incidents are all said to involve screens that exploded or suddenly cracked.

More than 1.2m iPhones have been sold in France to date.

The initial case prompted European Commission consumer safety officials to ask Apple for an explanation. The company told the EC it was investigating the first incidents, which it said were "isolated" cases - and would report back.

Apple's official line is that it can't comment until it the damaged iPhones have been returned for analysis.

However, the new cases have prompted France's own consumer affairs agency, the DGCCRF (Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la rRépression des Fraudes), to launch an official probe into the matter.

"An investigation is under way. We have been alerted to the problem and we are looking into it closely," a spokesman told AFP. ®

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