Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Libyan Forces Target Rebels Near Tunisian Border

VOA News June 14, 2011

Libyan rebels say forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi have fired rockets at opposition fighters near the border with Tunisia.

The Reuters news agency quotes witnesses who say the Libyan rockets crossed the border into Tunisia, an act that could raise tensions that are already high between the two countries.

Libya fired rockets into Tunisia on May 17, and the Tunisian government threatened to report its neighbor to the U.N. Security Council for "enemy" actions. Libyan forces also have engaged in periodic short skirmishes with Tunisian troops after Libya's internal fighting spread across the border.

Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Tuesday it has safely evacuated more than 220 migrants and 30 war wounded from the rebel-held western port of Misrata to Benghazi, the rebel stronghold in eastern Libya.

Most of the migrants were from Chad, Nigeria, Sudan and other parts of Africa. The IOM says the wounded included a 12-year-old boy with extensive head injuries.

Libyan rebels have advanced from Misrata towards the capital, Tripoli, breaking a government siege. Several rebel units have pushed the front lines west from Misrata to the outskirts of Zlitan, a neighboring town held by Gadhafi's forces.

The two sides traded heavy rocket and artillery fire Monday, with rebels using arms seized from government weapons depots and fresh armaments shipped from Benghazi.

Anti-government fighters in eastern Libya suffered a major setback Monday near the oil town of Brega, where pro-Gadhafi troops killed at least 21 rebels in an ambush east of the city.

The rebels scored a victory on the political front, however, when Canada announced Tuesday it will recognize the Transitional National Council as the"legitimate representative" of the Libyan people.

Canada joins several other nations in recognizing the opposition council. They include Germany, France, Italy, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The Obama administration is supporting the rebel cause but has stopped short of recognition.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on African nations Monday to cut ties with Moammar Gadhafi and demand his removal.

Speaking at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Clinton told African leaders gathered that Gadhafi has lost his legitimacy to rule. She urged them to call for a genuine cease-fire and throw their support behind the Libyan rebels' Transitional National Council.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list