May 7, 2011 / 5:35 PM / 9 years ago

Tunisia warns Libya over shelling of border town

TUNIS, May 7 (Reuters) - Tunisia warned Libya that it considered the shelling of a border town on Saturday “extremely dangerous” and said it would take all necessary measures to protect its sovereignty.

Close to 100 shells or mortar rounds fell on or near the Tunisian border town of Dehiba on Saturday, causing no injuries but doing damage to one house, a Reuters witness said. The shelling sent residents scurrying for safety.

The town has been hit repeatedly by stray shells in recent weeks as forces loyal to Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi battle rebels for control of the Dehiba-Wazzin border crossing.

The crossing gives the rebels, fighting to end Gaddafi’s rule of more than four decades, a road from the outside world into strongholds in Libya’s Western Mountains region.

“Tunisia will take all the necessary measures to ensure its national territorial sovereignty and the safety of its citizens and refugees within the frameworks provided by international law,” said the foreign ministry statement carried by the official TAP news agency.

It accused Tripoli of a “lack of seriousness” when it came to meeting its commitments, adding that Tunisia would keep the border crossing open to allow Libyans to flee fighting inside their country.

Earlier, Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi told a news conference that Tripoli did not target Tunisia deliberately.

Reporting by Joseph Nasr in Berlin, writing by Matthew Bigg, editing by Mark Heinrich

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