By Michel Cousins.
Tripoli, 23 April 2013, 8.30 . . .[restrict]am:
A massive bomb exploded outside the French embassy in Tripoli this morning. “There is enormous destruction,” a French diplomat told the Libya Herald. One security guard has been gravely wounded, he said.
It was initially reported that two had been injured.
The explosion occurred around 7.00 am outside the main entrance.
At the time, no one other than the guard was in the building, on the corner of two small streets in the capital’s fashionable Hay Andalus district.
The explosion is believed to have been caused by a car bomb, but according to another diplomat, there is no sign of any wrecked vehicle outside the chancellery entrance. He thought that was because it had been totally destroyed.
The explosion destroyed the outer walls of the embassy complex and parts of the facade of the building. The first floor is destroyed. Ten vehicles parked in the street have been wrecked. Every office in the building has been ruined, the 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.
Two members of the French national assembly are visiting Tripoli at present. Many members of Tripoli’s French community as well as a number of senior Libyan officials had attended a reception last night for Jacques Myard, the deputy for Yvelines and Mayor of Mainson-Lafitte, and Jean Glavany, a former Agriculture Minister. They were not near the building at the time of the explosion.
So far there is no indication as to who was responsible. However, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has vowed to attack France following its intervention in Mali.