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21:32, 28 May 2017 Sunday
13:32, 11 March 2013 Monday

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Tunisia closes Libyan border post
Tunisia closes Libyan border post

The radio said three civilians - two Tunisians and a Libyan - were also wounded in the confrontation between the army and armed smugglers near the Dhiba-Wazn border post on Sunday night.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Tunisia has closed a border crossing with Libya after a clash with smugglers in which a Tunisian soldier was killed, state radio and security sources said on Monday.

The radio said three civilians - two Tunisians and a Libyan - were also wounded in the confrontation between the army and armed smugglers near the Dhiba-Wazn border post on Sunday night.

It gave no further details, but security sources said the crossing, a major trade route, was closed after the clash.

Trade with Libya is an important source of jobs for Tunisians and any prolonged border closure could provoke unrest in the troubled north African country.

Violent protests took place earlier this year in the city of Ben Guerdane after the Ras Jedir crossing with Libya was closed for weeks.

Security is fragile in both countries and border lawlessness increased after the overthrow of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi and Tunisia's Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in popular revolts in 2011.

Smuggling of commodities such as milk, sugar and barley to Libya has caused shortages and increased prices in Tunisia.

Combating smuggling, unemployment and rising prices will be among the priorities of Tunisian Prime Minister-designate Ali Larayedh's new government, which faces a confidence vote in the National Constituent Assembly on Tuesday.



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Libya extremist group Ansar al-Sharia announces dissolution
Libya extremist group Ansar al-Sharia announces dissolution

The Libyan jihadist group Ansar al-Sharia, which is linked to Al-Qaeda and deemed a terrorist organisation by the UN and United States, announced its "dissolution" in a communique published online on Saturday. Washington accuses the group of being behind the September 11, 2012 attack on the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi in which ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. Ansar al-Sharia is one of the jihadist groups that sprung up in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city, in the chaos following the death of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011. They overran the city in 2014. East Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar earlier this month launched an offensive to oust jihadist fighters from their two remaining strongholds in Benghazi. In its communique Ansar al-Sharia said it had been "weakened" by the fighting. The group lost its leader, Mohammed Azahawi, in clashes with Haftar's forces in Benghazi at the end of 2014. Most of its members then defected to the so-called Islamic State group. Ansar al-Sharia later joined the Revolutionary Shura Council of Benghazi, a local alliance of Islamist militias. At its zenith, Ansar al-Sharia was present in Benghazi and Derna in eastern Syria, with offshoots in Sirte and Sabratha, western Libya. The organisation took over barracks and other sites abandoned by the ousted Kadhafi forces and transformed them into training grounds for hundreds of jihadists seeking to head to Iraq or Syria.