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Rockets hit UAE’s mission to Libya

Diplomatic and security sources said it appeared a rocket-propelled grenade had been fired at the building in the Siahia neighbourhood in western Tripoli. No injuries have been reported.

DUBAI, TRIPOLI // The UAE Embassy in Libya was hit by two rocket-propelled grenades in a terror attack yesterday.

The Assistant Foreign Minister for Security and Military Affairs, Faris Al Mazrouei, confirmed the incident to the state news agency Wam, but stressed no one was injured in the 5am assault.

“An attack happened this morning on the Emirati embassy. There are no casualties,” Libyan interior ministry spokesman Rami Kaal said yesterday.

Mr Al Mazrouei said the embassy was helping Libyan investigators try to identify the culprits.

Libyan security sources were quoted by Al Arabiya television as saying the rockets were aimed at the residence of the ambassador, Brig Gen Mohammed Al Kaabi.

The sources said Brig Al Kaabi and his family were not home when the  attack occurred.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed spoke yesterday to Libya’s prime minister, Dr Ali Zidan, to get details of the attacks.

He thanked Dr Zidan for personally following up on the incident.

The UAE took part in Nato’s campaign to oust Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 and has been providing support to Libya since.

Last year Dr Zidan said the UAE had given military, security and humanitarian support since the uprising began. The attack is the latest in a series on diplomatic missions in the country.

On Tuesday a rocket hit a residential building in Tripoli, close to the Corinthia Hotel, which is used by foreign businessmen and government officials.

That attack was also near a tower housing several embassies.

In April, the French embassy in the capital was also bombed.

The Speaker of the Arab Parliament, Ahmed Al Jarwan, yesterday condemned the attack on the UAE mission as “a heinous act of terror”.

The British ambassador to Libya, Michael Aron, said that the attack on Tuesday involved an improvised mortar, while the UAE embassy attackers appeared to have used a shoulder-mounted, rocket-propelled grenade (RPG).

The embassy, in the Siyahia neighbourhood of western Tripoli, suffered minimal damage to its walls, pictures showed.

“It doesn’t look like it’s done internal damage and the building wasn’t occupied,” Mr Aron said.

When asked who could be responsible for the attack, he said the UAE was known to be opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood, “but we haven’t seen any indication the Muslim Brotherhood are involved in violence”.

Mr Aron said that in light of the attack, security measures among the diplomatic community in Libya were being reviewed.

“We’ll adapt our security measures to the threat and we take it very seriously. Fortunately, no one’s been injured in these last two but they are a worry,” he said.

Dr Zidan said last year that as Libya matured, it needed help to build up law enforcement and called on the UAE’s expertise in policing and military training.

Mr Aron said G8 countries were also offering to train Libyan soldiers and policemen, but divisions within the Libyan coalition were hampering their plans.

“Politically, it’s pretty fragile, because neither Mahmoud Jibril’s political coalition nor the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm are supportive of the government,” he said. “They are part of it but complain from the sidelines.

“It’s extremely difficult having to focus on these kind of attacks, plus there are power cuts, which make people upset.”

The UK government is “against all these types of attacks”, Mr Aron said.

“Yes, I am very worried about Libya, whatever this is, because there are weapons and armed people distributed all over and the

government is weak. Definitely, this is not accepted by the Libyan people.

“The UAE is a country that was helping us, even if they are supporting one party. This is normal. We are condemning it. This is not nice and it is not acceptable.”

* Additional reporting from Reuters

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