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TUNISIA: Libyan soldier surrenders, details bomb plot

August 22, 2011 |  9:34 am


A Libyan soldier surrendered to Tunisian authorities, saying he had been sent by Moammar Kadafi's army to bomb an Arab embassy in the capital, Tunisian military officials told Reuters on Monday.

“The Libyan officer, Abd Erazzak Al-Rajhi, has revealed this to the Tunisian army,” Mokhtar Nasr, a Tunisian military official, said at a news conference in Tunis. Nasr said the target had been an Arab embassy, but he did not say which country.


Timeline: Rebellion in Libya

Officials on Libyan state television have often labeled Qatar and the United Arab Emirates “traitors” for supporting the anti-Kadafi rebels. Libyan state television, Al-Jamahiriya, went off the air on Monday afternoon, with screens going black, then displaying the network's logo, Agence France-Presse reported, amid reports that rebels had seized the state broadcaster.

Tunisian Prime Minister Beji Caid Sebsi congratulated Libya's rebel leadership by telephone on Monday for what he said was a “victory of the Libyan people.” Tunisian news outlets reported celebrations overnight across the country by Libyan refugees who had taken shelter in cities such as Tataouine and Djerba. Some gathered in public squares to celebrate, launching fireworks, parading in long lines of cars, honking horns and waving the Libyan rebel flag.

At the Tunisian border crossing of Dhehiba-Wazen, officials told Tunisian reporters they had seen a large number of Libyan refugees returning home to participate in what they considered a historic event.

Meanwhile, on Libya's southern border, military officials in Niger have begun air surveillance operations, afraid armed groups may flee the conflict, Niger military sources told Reuters

The patrols started after authorities said they seized nearly 60 vehicles and a dismantled helicopter smuggled out of Libya last week, a sign the Libyan conflict may spread into weaker neighboring countries to the south.  

Authorities in the region are concerned some forces in Libya's conflict, including Kadafi loyalists and mercenaries fighting with them from Niger and Mali, could cross the largely unsecured Sahel region and into their territory.


Obama: Kadafi "no longer controls Libya"

Gunshots erupt during interview with Kadafi's son

Analysis: Mountain rebels may have turned tide in Tripoli

--Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: A Libyan state television set was abandoned after rebels entered Tripoli on Sunday and Moammar Kadafi's 42-year rule rapidly crumbled. Credit: Dario Lopez-Mills/Associated Press.