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Tunisia closes borders with Libya after violence



Published: Fri, August 1, 2014 @ 11:20 a.m.

RAS AJDIR, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia closed its main border crossing with Libya today after thousands of stranded Egyptian and foreign nationals, fleeing militias' fighting and violence in Libya, tried to break through the passage, the Tunisian news agency said.

It was the second eruption of unrest at the border in as many days, as thousands of Libyans stream into neighboring Tunisia, along with foreign nationals. Tunisia is the only escape route as fighting escalates in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, where rival militias have been battling for weeks for control over the airport.

Today's unrest took place when thousands of Egyptians, barred from entering Tunisia because they had no visa, had a protest then broke through part of a fence at the Ras Ajdir crossing, Tunisian security officials said. The police responded by shooting in the air and firing tear gas. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

An Associated Press reporter at the crossing said no one managed to make it to the other side and security forces used vehicles to physically block access. After a Tunisian police officer was wounded by gunfire from the Libyan side of the border, authorities closed the crossing, the official Tunisian news agency TAP said.


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