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Tunisia Closes Border Crossing With Libya

  • VOA News

Cars belonging to Libyans line up to cross into Tunisia at the Ras Ajdir border post between Libya and Tunisia, southern Tunisia, July 31, 2014.

Cars belonging to Libyans line up to cross into Tunisia at the Ras Ajdir border post between Libya and Tunisia, southern Tunisia, July 31, 2014.

Tunisia's state news agency says the country has closed its main border crossing with Libya after hundreds of Egyptians and Libyans tried to break through the passage while fleeing violence around Benghazi and Tripoli.

Security officials say Egyptians who did not have visas into Tunisia broke through part of a fence at the Ras Ajdir crossing when authorities would not let them pass.

Police fired gunshots and tear gas into the air to stop the mob.

Earlier this week, an Islamist and jihadist alliance called the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council seized the headquarters of the Libyan special forces in the eastern city of Benghazi. Ansar al-Sharia, which Washington has listed as a terrorist organization, is part of the fighting alliance.

Officials had to close Tripoli's airport after two weeks of fighting. Authorities said Wednesday a fire continued to burn near the airport after a rocket struck a fuel tank and the blaze spread to a second storage site.

A battle for control of the airport has raged since July 13. Dozens of people have been killed.

Libya's newly elected parliament is scheduled to hold an emergency session Saturday in the eastern city of Tobruk. An official cites the "dangerous situation" in the country.

The surge of violence has renewed fears that Libya is plunging deeper into civil strife. Chaos has engulfed Libya since the 2011 civil war that ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

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