AFRICANGLOBE – French President Francois Hollande wants Libya to explain how the French embassy in Tripoli was the scene of a car bomb attack on Tuesday which left two French security guards injured, one seriously.
“France expects the Libyan authorities to ensure that all possible light is shed on this unacceptable act so that the perpetrators are identified and brought to justice,” Hollande said in a statement.
A car bomb hit the France embassy in Libya causing extensive damage in the first attack on a foreign mission since militants stormed the US consulate in Benghazi in September.
The explosion happened at around 7:00 am local time, in the upmarket Gargaresh area. The wall surrounding the property was destroyed and the embassy building extensively damaged.
The mission is located in a two-storey villa and the blast severely damaged two nearby villas, while the windows of a shop 200 metres away were blown out. Two cars parked near the embassy were also destroyed.
“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,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement, before setting off for Tripoli.
Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdel Aziz condemned the bombing as a “terrorist act,” but declined to speculate about who was responsible.
“We strongly condemn this act, which we regard as a terrorist act against a brother nation that supported Libya during the revolution” of 2011 that ousted the regime of Moammar Gaddafi, Abdel Aziz said at the scene of the blast.
“We regret this act and express our solidarity with the French government and people,” he added, announcing the a joint commission had been formed to investigate the attack.
France, under then president Nicolas Sarkozy, led NATO air raids against Gaddafi’s forces under a UN resolution aimed at protecting civilians.
Since Gaddafi’s fall, Libya has been plagued by persistent insecurity, especially in the region of Benghazi, which has been hit by bombings and assassinations that has forced many foreigners to leave the eastern city.
In September, an attack on the US consulate killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
The violence in Libya is often blamed on radical Islamists persecuted under Gaddafi, who now want to settle old scores, while security remains the prerogative of militias in a number of important areas.
Meanwhile armed terrorist groups angered by the French intervention in northern Mali have frequently threatened to retaliate by attacking French interests.