Car Bomb Detonates Outside French Embassy in Libya

Libyans suspect retaliation for French presence in Mali, reports say.

Police tape marks the site of a car bomb that targeted the French embassy in Tripoli, Libya, on April 23, 2013. The attack wounded two French guards and caused extensive material damage.

Police tape marks the site of a car bomb that targeted the French embassy in Tripoli, Libya, on April 23, 2013. The attack wounded two French guards and caused extensive material damage.

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A car bomb detonated outside the French Embassy in Libya early Tuesday, wounding two French guards and a local girl, in what some suspect is a response to the French presence in Mali.

This is the first attack on an embassy in Tripoli, the capital, since Arab Spring protests ousted former leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi from power in October 2011. It is also the first strike on a diplomatic facility since the assault on a U.S. compound in Benghazi in September 2012 that claimed the life of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

[PHOTOS: Embassy Attack in Benghazi]

No groups have claimed responsibility as of Tuesday morning, reports the New York Times, though Libyans believe it could be the work of Islamic extremists protesting the ongoing French campaign in Mali. French and African troops launched a campaign in the northwest African country in January to repel a coalition of groups tied to al-Qaida and to local tribal forces.

The allied forces successfully pushed the jihadists back into the northern, arid portion of Mali, and are currently planning a drawdown.

The blast outside the French Embassy was powerful enough to knock the front wall off the building, CNN reports. Deputy Prime Minister Awad Barasi said the blast injured a 13-year-old girl who was in a house nearby. She was taken to Tunisia for treatment.

Armed militias continue to provide much of the security in Libya following the civil war there in 2011. Local governance struggles to maintain security and build a unified army amid influence from radical Islamic groups such as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, believed to be involved in the Benghazi attack.

[PHOTOS: War Escalates as French Troops Arrive in Mali]

Security risks hampered U.S. efforts to investigate the attack, an official told U.S. News in November. A team led by FBI agents could not get within a hundred miles of Benghazi more than a month after the attack, the source said.

Check out these unconfirmed tweets of the damage outside the embassy:

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