Thursday, April 21, 2011

Libya rebels claim control of Tunisian border post

(AP / Yahoo News) - TRIPOLI, Libya – Libyan rebels said Thursday they had control of a post on the Tunisian border, forcing government soldiers to flee over the frontier and possibly opening a new channel for opposition forces in Moammar Gadhafi's bastion in western Libya.
In the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya, meanwhile, relief workers and medical teams awaited the arrival of a passenger ferry carrying about 1,000 people — mostly Libyan civilians and workers from Asia and Africa — out of the besieged city of Misrata, the main rebel holdout in Gadhafi's territory.
Also aboard the vessel were the bodies of an Oscar-nominated documentary maker from Britain and an American photographer who were killed covering clashes Wednesday. A day earlier, the ferry arrived in Misrata, delivering food and medical supplies to the beleaguered population.
Rebels appear to be gaining more international support, including plans by Italy, France and Britain to send combat advisers and other nations pledging communications and other equipment under the NATO mission. But Gadhafi's regime fired back with fierce threats if the alliance sends any troops to Libya.
"If NATO comes to Misrata, or any Libyan city, we will unleash hell upon NATO," government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim told reporters in the capital Tripoli. "We will be a ball of fire. Libya will become one man, one woman, fighting for freedom. We will make it 10 times as bad as Iraq."
The reported capture of the border crossing followed three days of intense fighting outside the desert town of Nalut, about 140 miles (240 kilometers) southwest of the capital Tripoli, said a rebel leader, Shaban Abu Sitta. The area was briefly in hands of anti-government forces last month before Libyan troops moved in.
Holding the Dhuheiba border crossing could open important supply routes for anti-Gadhafi forces and give the rebels another foothold in western Libya.
"Rebels are now manning Dhuheiba crossing," said Abu Sitta, who claimed his fighters destroyed 30 army pickup trucks and captured 10 cars and some weapons.