Tuesday, April 23, 2013

French Embassy Hit By Car Bomb in Libya, 2 Guards Injured (Updated)

April 23, 2013 - Updated - Reuters is reporting that a booby trapped car exploded at the French embassy in a residential part of Libya's capitol city Tripoli. The bomb caused considerable damage, injuring two of embassy guards. One of the guards is described as being "gravely injured." According to the Libya Herald, several local residents helped to rescue one of the guards.

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"France's embassy in Libya was hit by what appeared to be a car bomb on Tuesday, injuring two guards in the first such attack in the Libyan capital since the 2011 war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.  "There was an attack on the embassy. We think it was a booby trapped car," a French official told Reuters. "There was a lot of damage and there are two guards wounded." ~ More at Reuters.com

"The explosion destroyed the outer walls of the embassy complex and the facade of the building," reports the Libya Herald. "The first floor  is destroyed. Ten vehicles parked in the street have been wrecked.  Every office in the building has been ruined, the [French] diplomat said. The blast also brought down the garden walls of two houses opposite the chancellery entrance.  It was strong enough too to blow out windows in buildings in several streets around."  The Libya Herald notes that nobody, as yet, has claimed responsibility for the bomb attack. "However," the Herald continued, "Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has vowed to attack France following its intervention in Mali."

"Black smoke billowed from the wreckage of the vehicle that exploded close to the Embassy’s entrance as fire crews arrived to put out the flames. Part of the Embassy complex’s outer wall was partly destroyed in the explosion as well as two nearby cars." More at RT.com.  The explosion happened just after 7:00 AM local time (5:00 AM GMT). "The blast took place in a small side street, causing extensive damage to the buildings and parked cars, our correspondent said," reports BBC.

The local authorities were slow to send help to the scene. In another report by the Libya Herald quotes a man who lives next to the French embassy, Abdurrauf Al-Alam. His home was badly damaged by the blast. He said that police and fire fighters were slow to respond.  “It took 30 minutes for the fire-fighters to arrive,” he said.  The police and security “came at 9 am”, almost two hours after the attack. Three hours after the explosion, trees on the street outside the embassy were still burning.