TRIPOLI (Reuters) - A bomb planted under an Italian diplomatic car in the Libyan capital Tripoli was discovered and exploded as police had cordoned off the area, diplomatic and security sources said.
No one was injured in the incident, which happened as the diplomats had stopped off to go shopping in the central Zawiyat Dahmani area on Tuesday afternoon, the sources said.
"The driver noticed something strange under the car and the police were called. The area was cleared and the car then exploded," one of the sources added.
A Foreign ministry spokesman in Rome said two embassy officials were travelling in the car.
A witness said the explosion was low intensity. A Reuters photographer at the scene said the back of the car was badly damaged and the windows were blasted out.
There has been a spate of bombings in recent months in Libya - in April the French embassy was bombed in the capital while in the volatile eastern city of Benghazi, four Americans - including the ambassador - were killed on September 11 last year.
The Foreign Ministry said security would be heightened for Italian officials in Libya, and that the attempted bomb attack would be investigated.
In January, unidentified gunmen in Benghazi opened fire on an Italian consul's armored car as he returned to his residence. The diplomat was unhurt.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer in Rome and Marie-Louise Gumuchian in Tripoli; Editing by Michael Roddy)