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Gaddafi forces clash with Tunisian army

30 April 2011 13:22

Reports suggest forces loyal to embattled Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi have crossed the border into neighboring Tunisia and fought battles with Tunisian troops.

The report of the clashes comes as Gaddafi troops stormed the Dehiba-Wazin crossing on Libya’s western frontier on Friday.

Gaddafi loyalists also fired several artillery shells into the Tunisian side of the border, damaging several buildings in the region.

The developments also come after troops loyal to Gaddafi increased their attacks on the country’s western mountainous region.

The region — which includes the towns of Nalut, Kalaa, Yafran and Zintan — has received little international attention.

The region near the Tunisian border is populated by Berbers, an ethnic group traditionally viewed with suspicion by dictator Gaddafi.

Sources say the situation at the post on the Tunisian border is reportedly fluid amid heavy fighting.

On Thursday, hours after the Gaddafi forces had retaken the post at Dehiba, the revolutionaries captured it again.

The fighters in the region have recently taken control of several border posts on the Tunisian frontier after overrunning Gaddafi forces.

The latest incursion has sparked a furious and an angry response from the Tunisian government.

“Given the gravity of what has happened … the Tunisian authorities have informed the Libyans of their extreme indignation and demand measures to put an immediate stop to these violations,” a statement from the Tunisian Foreign Ministry read.

The crossing lies on the border with Tunisia.

Meanwhile, the two sides are also fighting for control of the airport in the city of Misratah, which is held by the anti-Gaddafi forces.

Gaddafi troops pounded Misratah overnight.

Reports say at least ten people have been killed and many others injured in the city.

Tensions remain high in Libya as forces loyal to the embattled ruler continue suppressing the popular uprising while more cities fall into the hands of opposition fighters.

Gaddafi loyalists are struggling to prevent fighters from taking the fight to Tripoli, where the ruler is holed up.

Gaddafi has been in power in Libya for 42 years.

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