The French embassy in Libya was hit by an apparent car bomb on Tuesday (April 23), injuring two French guards and bringing violence to the capital after attacks on foreign missions in the east.

It was the first assault on a diplomatic mission in Tripoli, considered safer than the rest of the country, since the end of the 2011 war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

Al Qaeda's north African arm has warned of retaliation for France's intervention in Mali but there was no indication as to who was behind Tuesday's explosion at the embassy in Libya.

There have been several attacks on diplomatic missions, notably in the eastern city of Benghazi, where the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed last September.

Residents living near the embassy compound, in the capital's Hay Andalus area, said they heard two blasts early in the morning around 0700 local time (0500 GMT).

A large chunk of the wall around the compound collapsed into rubble and one corner of the embassy building had caved in. Office cabinets lay scattered on the ground outside and water from a burst pipe ran down the street.

Residents pointed to shrapnel belonging to the car they said had exploded, such as a distorted wheel axle and pieces of the motor lying on the ground.

French President Francois Hollande condemned the attack. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will travel to Tripoli on Tuesday, an official from his ministry said.

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