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UAE embassy compound attacked in Libyan capital

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

By Ghaith Shennib and Marie-Louise Gumuchian

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Unidentified assailants fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the United Arab Emirates embassy compound in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Thursday, the latest in a series of attacks on foreign targets in the North African country.

Security sources said the attackers drove up to the compound, which houses both the embassy and ambassador's residence, in the Siahia neighborhood in Western Tripoli before fleeing immediately.

Residents in the area said it was the ambassador's residence which was hit the early morning assault. He was believed to be out of the country, and no injuries were reported.

There has been a spate of bombings in recent months in Libya which have mainly targeted Western diplomats and missions, though the Tunisian consulate has also been attacked.

"I heard a loud explosion so I went outside. I then saw a hole in the building," resident Khaled al-Zintani said.

A Reuters reporter on the scene saw a hole high up on the front wall of the building. A police car blocked the road.

Interior Ministry Spokesman Rami Kaal has said there were no injuries in the attack. "An investigation is under way," he told Reuters without giving further details.

On Tuesday, a rocket struck a residential building in Tripoli close to a major hotel, the Corinthia, used frequently by foreign businessmen and government officials, as well as a tower housing several embassies.

Interior Minister Mohammed Khalifa al-Sheikh said the rocket may have been aimed at the Corinthia.

A security source said the rocket was launched from car which burst into flames in the car park of a residential compound near the hotel and Tripoli Towers, which houses the British and Canadian embassies, as well as several foreign airlines and other companies.

In April the French embassy in Tripoli was bombed, while in the volatile eastern city of Benghazi, four Americans - including the ambassador - were killed on September 11 last year.

Armed violence and lawlessness caused in part by militia groups who often do as they please has hobbled governance in wide areas of the oil-producing North African state following the 2011 war that ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

(Reporting by Ghaith Shennib and Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by John Stonestreet)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130725/uae-embassy-attacked-libyan-capital-says-ministry