French embassy in Tripoli hit by car bomb: Embassy source

TRIPOLI (REUTERS) - France's embassy in Libya was hit by what appeared to be a car bomb on Tuesday, injuring two guards in the first such attack in the capital Tripoli since the end of the 2011 war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

Residents living near the embassy compound, in the capital's Hay Andalus area, said they heard two blasts early in the morning.

"We think it was a booby trapped car," a French embassy official told Reuters. "There was a lot of damage and there are two guards wounded."

In Paris, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius condemned what he called a heinous attack and said everything would be done to find the perpetrators. "I send my solidarity and deepest sympathy to the two injured French guards and my wishes for their recovery," he said in a statement.

One resident living less than 100 metres from the embassy said his windows shook when the first blast occurred.

"I think there were two blasts, the first was very loud and then there was a smaller one," another witness said. "There was some black smoke at first, and then it turned white."

Diplomatic missions have been targeted in Libya, most notably an attack on the US mission in the eastern city of Benghazi last September that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans.

However, Tuesday's attack is the first such serious assault on an embassy or foreign mission in Tripoli, where in general security is seen as better than in the east.

Security remains precarious in post-war Libya, a country awash with weapons and where militias often do as they please.

Most foreign embassy staff and international aid workers have strict security in the city. Benghazi remains off-limits to many foreigners.

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