A Mauritanian police officer says a homicide bomber killed himself outside the French Embassy. The blast also wounded two embassy guards and a woman in the street.

A policeman at the scene of the bombing says the young man blew himself up around 7 p.m. The policeman did not give his name, saying he was not allowed to talk to journalists.

Extremist violence in Mauritania, a moderate Muslim nation in West Africa, has increased in recent years.

Earlier this month, a judge charged three men with murder in the slaying of an American teacher in Mauritania, and also charged them with aiding Al Qaeda, which had claimed responsibility for the murder.