By Nigel Ash, Ashraf Abdul-Wahab, Tom Westcott and Nihal Zaroug.
Hay Andalous, Tripoli, 23 April 2013: 10.15 am.
A resident who lives near . . .[restrict]the French embassy in Tripoli’s Hay Andalous has told how he and others helped rescued an embassy guard wounded in this morning’s bomb attack.
“At around ten minutes past seven I heard two explosions, about 30 seconds apart,” he told the Libya Herald. The first was the bomb, the second, he thinks was a car that had caught fire and blew up. Rushing to the site he saw smoke and flames and two Egyptian embassy cleaners who ran out of the building.
He and others went in and found the embassy guard. “We carried him out. There was dust everywhere. He was half-conscious. There was blood on his head but I could not see where he was wounded.”
They used a broken door as a stretcher.
Another eye-witness, who lives just two doors away, said he heard a massive explosion followed by two others, as burning vehicles blew up.
One neighbour, a women who lives across the road from the embassy, is reported to have been injured by falling masonry and taken to hospital. The extent of her injuries is unknown. The house is now blocked off.
Another man who lives next door to the embassy said that his home had been severely deamaged. His two young sons and two daughters were asleep when the blast blew in their bedroom windows above their beds. Walls and ceilings are cracked as a result of the explosion. “Thank God that the structure of the house was strong enough so that the ceiling did not fall in,” he said.
A mother of four, who lives a street away from the embassy, told the Libya Herlad, “our lives were turned upside down today. I feel horrible about what happened and even worse for the families who live next door with the Embassy. Thankfully no lives were claimed. My windows were damaged from the blast, frightening my daughters, and ruining our car. Our street is flooding with water gushing out of the sewer drains”.
He complained about the length of time it took the police to get to the scene. “It took 30 minutes for the fire-fighters to arrive,” he said. The police and security “came at 9 am”, almost two hours after the attack.
Three hours after it happened, trees in the street outside the embassy were still being put out by fire-fighters.
The scene around the embassy looks like the area has been hit by an earthquake. The blast was so strong it ruptured a water mains under the road, resulting in the street being partially flooded.
Workers have been digging up the road to try and switch the water off. [/restrict]