Haftar forces seal Libya's border crossing with Tunisia

Fighting between armed factions allied to Libya's competing governments broke out near the country's main border crossing to Tunisia

Haftar forces seal Libya's border crossing with Tunisia

World Bulletin/News Desk

Forces loyal to Libya's former army chief Khalifa Haftar on Sunday took control of the country's western Bokmash area and the Ras Ajdir border crossing with Tunisia, sealing off the latter until further notice.

"The coastal region this morning saw some of the most violent clashes since the fighting started [against militias]," Mohamed al-Saem, the deputy commander of the pro-Haftar forces, told The Anadolu Agency on Sunday.

"The fighting culminated with [us] taking control of the region stretching from Bokmash [located 100km west of Tripoli] to the Ras Ajdir border crossing with Tunisia," al-Saem said.

"We have sealed the crossing and deployed forces there to protect it," he added.

Tunisian authorities, for their part, have also sealed the Ras Ajdir crossing from their side.

A Tunisian security source said there was fighting in the Libyan area of Boukamech. Tunisia had advised its citizens to avoid the crossing.

In another setback for travellers, two Libyan state carriers said they had halted flights out of Tripoli and Misrata to Istanbul after the European Union imposed an overfly ban last week.

Egypt and Tunisia had already banned flights from western Libya, leaving Libyans with few options to travel abroad.

Al-Saem went on to say that "negotiations are currently underway with residents of the city of Zuwarah to have its Islamist militiamen handing over their weapons after we took control of the areas surrounding the city."

A field commander with the Libya Dawn militias, for his part, told AA that "the retreat of our forces in these areas doesn't mean that Haftar forces have full control."

"It is a matter of temporary military tactics," he said.

Libya has been dogged by political instability since the 2011 ouster and death of long-ruling strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

In the more than three years since, rival militias have frequently locked horns, often bringing violence to the country's main cities, including capital Tripoli.

 

Last Mod: 14 Aralık 2014, 15:17
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