CAIRO -- A car bomb exploded at the French Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, on Tuesday, injuring three people and raising the specter that Islamist militants were seeking retribution for France’s military strikes against extremists in the West African nation of Mali.
The bombing was the latest indication of the dangers facing a volatile Libya after the overthrow and death of Moammar Kadafi in 2011. The attack was the most potent against a foreign installation in the country since last year’s assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
No one claimed immediate responsibility for Tuesday's blast, which set nearby cars ablaze and injured two embassy guards and a Libyan girl. But Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has threatened in recent weeks to target France and other nations for their intervention in the war against rebels and extremists in Mali.
Militant groups have been exploiting Libya’s security vacuum, sneaking through porous borders and relying on looted stockpiles of weapons. Rising extremist activity across the deserts of western and northern Africa has concerned the United States and Europe since popular uprisings two years ago changed the politics of Libya, Egypt and Tunisia.