A car bomb targeted the French embassy in the Libyan capital early on Tuesday, wounding two French guards and bringing violence to the capital after attacks on foreign missions in the east.
“There was an attack on the embassy. We think it was a booby trapped car,” Reuters quoted an official as saying. “There was a lot of damage and there are two guards wounded.”
The wall surrounding the property was destroyed and the embassy building badly damaged, AFP reported, adding two cars parked near the embassy were also destroyed.
France on Tuesday condemned the “odious” attack on its embassy.
Al Arabiya correspondent in Tripoli said a unit of French's special forces were being flown in to Tripoli.
“In liaison with the Libyan authorities, the services of the state will do everything to establish the circumstances of this odious act and rapidly identify the perpetrators,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement.
Fabius will fly to Libya Tuesday following the attack, a diplomatic source told AFP.
“The minister will be leaving in a matter of hours,” the source said. President Francois Hollande said earlier he had asked Fabius to dispatch a representative to Tripoli to assess the situation and oversee the repatriation of two injured embassy guards.
Meanwhile, residents living near the embassy compound, in the capital’s Hay Andalus area, said they heard two blasts early in the morning around 0700 a.m. (0500 GMT).
“We think it was a booby trapped car,” a French embassy official told Reuters. “There was a lot of damage and there are two guards wounded.”
In Paris, Fabius condemned what he called a heinous attack and said everything would be done to find the perpetrators. “I send my solidarity and deepest sympathy to the two injured French guards and my wishes for their recovery,” he said in a statement.
Tuesday’s attack is the first such serious assault on an embassy or foreign mission in Tripoli, where in general security is seen as better than in the east.
Security remains precarious in post-war Libya, a country awash with weapons and where militias often do as they please.