Car bomb targeted the French Embassy in the Libyan capital injuring at least two guards and causing extensive damage. The bomb exploded before work started on Tuesday morning and there were no diplomats in the building.
A French anti-crime unit is expected to arrive in Tripoli later Tuesday for an investigation into a car bombing near the French embassy that injured at least two guards, a spokesman for Libya’s foreign ministry said.
Libya’s foreign ministry has condemned the incident as a “terrorist attack.”
It was the first such assault on an embassy in the Libyan capital. On Sept. 11, four Americans. according to Libyan media, and the explosion caused major damage, with the outer wall of the embassy compound and part of the main building collapsed.
Also, several media outlets have reported that French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will come to the Libyan capital to oversee the investigation process, Bader al-Gulaioshi added.
Two guards were injured, An unnamed embassy official told news agency Reuters it appeared the blast was caused by a car bomb outside the embassy’s entrance as well as surrounding buildings.
No-one claimed responsibility, but suspicion will fall on Al-Qaeda linked elements operating inside Libya. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African branch of the terrorist organisation, has threatened to attack French interests in protest at France’s intervention in nearby Mali.
“There was an attack on the embassy. We think it was a booby trapped car,” the official said.
The deadly explosion occurred around 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) in al-Andlus area, some 10 km from downtown Tripoli, causing panic among residents nearby.
Last week, AQIM, threatened to seek revenge against all countries taking part in the French-led war in Mali, warning that no one who “participated in this ferocious attack” will be safe.
“We support and call all the Muslims to target France and its interests and subjects inside and outside France until it withdraws the last soldier from the land of the Muslims,” Abu Abdulilah Ahmed, a spokesman for the group said, in an unusual Twitter question-and-answer session with journalists only last Friday.
“The Libyan people and the government have rejected such acts, which aim to undermine the security and stability in the country,” the statement read.
The government is ready to cooperate with all parties in order to arrest the perpetrators of the attack, statement added. French officials have expressed concerns about the possibility of greater instability in Libya, where they believe at least some rebel fighters from Mali fled following France’s military onslaught to dislodge al-Qaida-linked militants who controlled the vast north of the West African country for months.
The war left Libya awash in weapons, adding to the country’s security challenges. An expert panel wrote to the U.N. Security Council this month warning that “Libya has over the past two years become a significant and attractive source of weaponry in the region.”
Tuesday’s incident marked the first attack on a foreign mission in Libya since militants stormed the US diplomatic mission in the eastern city of Benghazi last September, killing US ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.