Pro-Gaddafi forces clash with Tunisian military

Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:12pm GMT

By Tarek Amara

DEHIBA, Tunisia (Reuters) - Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi fought a gun battle with Tunisian troops in a frontier town on Friday as Libya's conflict spilled over its borders.

NATO accused Gaddafi's forces of mining the harbour of the rebels' besieged western outpost of Misrata, to block aid ships. Libyan state television said the port, providing a lifeline to the eastern rebel heartland, had been rendered "non-functional".

"Any attempt to enter the port will be attacked, regardless of the justifications," it added.

Pro-Gaddafi forces shelled the town of Dehiba, damaging buildings and wounding at least one resident, and a squad drove into the town in a truck chasing anti-Gaddafi rebels.

Tunisian deputy foreign minister Radhouane Nouicer, speaking on Al Jazeera television, said casualties had been inflicted, including a young girl.

"We summoned the Libyan envoy and gave him a strong protest because we won't tolerate any repetition of such violations. Tunisian soil is a red line and no one is allowed to breach it," he said.

Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, long seen as a successor to his father, told state television there would be no surrender "if the bombings last for 40 days or even 40 years.

"(Libya's) green flag will remain high."   Continued...

<p>Rebel fighters guard the southern Libyan and Tunisian border crossing of Dehiba April 22, 2011. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi</p>
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