Shock, anger after French Embassy blast in Tripoli

Agence France Presse

Published — Wednesday 24 April 2013

Last update 26 April 2013 10:05 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

TRIPOLI: Haj Mohammed Mokhtar sits on the curb staring in shock at the smoke rising from a palm tree in his garden after a powerful car bomb yesterday targeted the French Embassy next door.
“I survived the war and NATO bombardments (during the 2011 conflict) but I never felt such a powerful explosion,” said Mokhtar, whose house was largely destroyed by the blast.
French Embassy staff and diplomats had still not arrived at work when an explosives-packed car blew up out outside the mission at 7:10 a.m., wounding two French guards, and some neighbors, including a girl.
It also caused extensive damage in Gargaresh, the posh neighborhood of villas and narrow streets where the mission is located.
The blast blew away windows and doors and demolished the stone wall that surrounded the two-story villa in which the embassy is housed, which had been recently restored to erase damage caused during the 2011 uprising against the Qaddafi regime.
It created a two-meter-wide crater outside the gates of the embassy and ruptured underground water pipes, causing neighborhood streets to flood and turning the neighborhood into what looked like a war zone. At least two homes, including Mokhtar’s, were badly damaged, two cars parked nearby were destroyed, and the windows of a shop 200 meters away were shattered from the impact.
“It was a close call for me,” said Jamal Omar, who lives across the street from the embassy and was slightly injured in the face. “I was sweeping outside my house, and there wasn’t any car in front of the embassy. The explosion happened less than five minutes after I went back inside.”
Omar speculated that one or more individuals had parked the car outside the embassy’s gates and quickly activated the bomb before fleeing.
Embassy staff who arrived on the premises after the attack were visibly shaken as they surveyed the damage.
“There is nothing left of my office,” said a French employee.
Outside the desolate embassy, residents vented their anger, furiously shouting that their neighborhood should not have hosted an embassy.
“This is not a neighborhood to host embassies. It is densely populated, the street is narrow and we don’t even know where to park our cars,” one man said.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom has shared very friendly relations with the United States since the beginning of bilateral ties in the 1930s when full diplomatic relations were established. Despite all the ups and downs in recent years on certain policies, especially on...
AL-NAIRIYA: Women in Al-Nairiya governorate have called on the government to only allow gender-based voting because they believe this would allow women to get places on the new municipal councils.Nouf Al-Otaibi, a businesswoman in the area, said men...
Eighty-six-year-old American twins who met King Abdul Aziz in 1947 and King Abdullah in 2008 are now set to meet Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman in Washington on Saturday during his official visit.North County twins Jackie Voskamp and J...
RIYADH: Women in Saudi Arabia have been allocated a package of services to ensure their development and employment, Labor Minister Mufrej Al-Haqabani said Tuesday.The minister was speaking at the first panel discussion at the second National Business...
JEDDAH: Security authorities in Turaif in the Northern Border Province have arrested a young man in his 20s for killing his parents and wounding his siblings at their house on Wednesday.The arrested man reportedly used a sharp object to kill his pare...
The Date and Palm Festival, organized by the Royal Commission for Jubail (RCJ) at the Al-Fanateer waterfront in Jubail Industrial City, has received more than 90,000 visitors since its launch last Thursday.In addition, on Sunday the event received mo...

Stay Connected