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Britain to Help Secure Tunisia-Libya Border

Tunisia map showing Libyan border.
Tunisia map showing Libyan border.

British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said Monday he is sending a training team of about 20 soldiers to Tunisia to help prevent people from crossing into the country illegally from neighboring Libya.

Islamic State fighters have expanded their presence in Libya as two rival governments failed in efforts to unite and form a strong central authority to take back territory from militants. That has raised concerns about Islamic State launching attacks from Libya and exploiting the border to enter Tunisia, which has already experienced several deadly gun and bomb attacks targeting tourists and government officials.

Fallon told Parliament that Britain is ready to provide training and military advice to Libya, but has no current plans to send ground troops there for combat operations.

He expressed concern about Islamic State's expansion along Libya's coastline and said that is why Britain is "urgently assisting the formation of a new Libyan government."

The United Nations has been working with Libya's internationally recognized government based in the city of Tobruk and a rival Islamist-led body in Tripoli to come up with deal for a unity government. Various proposals have met harsh opposition by some members of both bodies and no agreement has been reached.

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