By Michel Cousins and Umar Khan.
Tripoli, 11 June 2013:
A bomb attatched to an Italian embassy car blew up near the embassy . . .[restrict]in the city’s Zawiat Al-Dahmani district this afternoon, destroying the vehicle. No one was hurt thanks to the vigilance of the embassy driver.
“The diver noticed that there was a pipe sticking out of the back of the vehicle”, an embassy official told the Libya Herald. He and a diplomat who was travelling in the vehicle got out, leaving the car in 17 February Street and headed to the embassy. The embassy alerted the police who had secured the area, when twenty minutes later, at around 4.30pm there was an explosion.
“It was not a great explosion, said the official, “probably a gelatina bomb, but it destroyed the back of the car. If anyone had been in the vehicle at the time, they could have been killed.”
More security officials were quickly on site, looking for evidence and the road was blocked off. However, three men then arrived, one of whom proceeded to attack the vehicle with a butchers’ blade, shouting “fitna” (that which causes chaos and dissension within the community) and “destroy them”. He appeared to be enraged that a car bomb had exploded in his area. He was pulled off by security men.
It is unclear who was behind the attack or if the hope was that the bomb would go off inside the embassy grounds. Nor is the reason immediately apparent. Despite its colonial past in Libya, Italy is well regarded in Tripoli.
In January, though, the Italian Consul-General’s car in Benghazi was shot at as it left the Tibesti hotel. The Consul-General, Guido de Sanctis, was in the vehicle at the time but was unhurt. The attack led to the closure of the Benghazi mission.
More recently, on 23 April, a massive car bomb exploded outside the French embassy in the capital’s Hay Al-Andalous district, causing extensive damage and seriously wounding a French guard and a young Libyan woman who lived across the road. There may also have been an attempt to car bomb the British Council building in the city the same day. [/restrict]