Tunisia closes border with Libya
Iran Press TV
Sat Aug 2, 2014 9:2AM GMT
Tunisia has reportedly closed its main border crossing with Libya.
The decision came on Friday after thousands of foreign nationals, including Egyptians, tried to break through the Ras Ajdir crossing amid violent clashes between Libyan government forces and rival militant groups in Libya's capital of Tripoli and the city of Benghazi, Tunisian news agency reported.
On the same day Tunisia called on its estimated 50,000 to 60,000 nationals to leave Libya immediately.
"The ministry of foreign affairs urges Tunisians who find themselves in Libyan territory to return home as soon as possible," the ministry said in a statement.
Several countries have already asked their citizens to leave Libya as violence rages on in the country, which has been gripped by instability since a 2011 popular revolution in the country that toppled long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was later captured and killed by rebels.
The former rebels refuse to lay down arms despite efforts by the central government to impose law and order.
According to recent figures released by the Libyan Health Ministry, the death toll from clashes in Tripoli and Benghazi over the past few weeks has risen to 214. Nearly one thousand others have been injured.
Benghazi fell to anti-government militants on Thursday. After defeating military units loyal to renegade general Khalifa Haftar, al-Qaeda-linked groups overran an army base in the city, seizing ammunition and weapons.
The groups also seized military barracks and everything inside the compounds, including tanks and rockets.
Meanwhile, heavy fighting resumed on Thursday between militias seeking control over the Tripoli International Airport.
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