By Umar Khan.
Tripoli, 23 April 2013:
Security of diplomatic missions in Tripoli as well as government institutions is being beefed up, Interior . . .[restrict]Minister Ashour Shuwail said this afternoon. He was responding to the bombing of the French Embassy in Tripoli this morning.
“We regret the bombing incident and also the damage it did to the neighbouring houses. Truly it was a very sad sight,” he said, following a visit to the site. “We have stepped up the security of the state institutions and diplomatic missions. A joint investigation committee has also been set up, consisting of members from the Crime Investigation Department, Intelligence, Tripoli police force, Supreme Security Committee Tripoli branch and the Diplomatic Task Force. Additionally a French team of experts will be helping the joint investigation committee. We will soon know the details but with the impact it looks like a lot of explosives were used.”
Countering claims by local residents that the security forces took their time to respond to the bombing – reports vary between 45 minutes to two hours – Shuwail said that the Ministry was quick to respond, with all the relevant persons being informed shortly after the blast, which occurred around 7.10 am. An investigation team had visited the scene to gather details about the explosion.
Referring to the casualties, he said the two injured French gendarmes were immediately taken to hospital. One was discharged straightway. The other with serious injuries was being treated.
“The neighbouring houses were damaged too, especially one opposite to the embassy. The gate of the embassy crashed into the house damaging it because of the force of explosion. Some residents were also injured and have been taken to Tunisia. We are coordinating with the Ministries of Health and of Foreign Affairs to see what can be done regarding treatment of the injured. We are also trying to quickly repair the damaged houses,” Shuwail said.
He noted that it was difficult for Libya to guarantee security in present circumstances. As last week’s events in Boston had showed, even the US could not guarantee it.
He also said that number of proposals on security for diplomatic missions were being assessed and decisions would shortly be made. The Diplomatic Task Force that is to provide security to embassies and other missions was almost ready to start working, he added.