France to spend millions on embassy security after Libya car bomb attack

PARIS (AFP) - France is to spend 20 million euros (S$32.2 million) on boosting security at its diplomatic missions in Africa and the Middle East after a car bomb attack last month on its embassy in Libya, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

The April 23 attack wounded two French guards and caused extensive damage.

"We must continue to upgrade the security at our facilities, acquire mobile protection equipment and adapted vehicles, increase the security budget and allocate more staff to security," ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said.

He said the new measures would be partly funded through the sale of properties and the reallocation of resources, but did not elaborate.

France has increased the alert level at its embassies in the region due to the attack in Libya, its military intervention in Mali and the breaking up of an Al-Qaeda-linked cell in Egypt that reportedly planned to bomb the United States and French embassies in Cairo.

US President Barack Obama last week also urged Congress to fund upgrades to US embassy security around the world amid controversy over the handling of the Sept 11 attack last year on the US mission in the Libyan city of Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including ambassador Chris Stevens.

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