Cash pledge for rebels as battles reach Tunisian border

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Cash pledge for rebels as battles reach Tunisian border

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Mortar rounds fired from Libya have landed near the Tunisian border, according to the Tunisian government.

There has been fighting between troops loyal to Colonel Gaddafi and rebel forces in Libya’s western mountains, causing people to flee.

The Libyan army has been trying to wrestle control of a key border post from the rebels. Artillery fire from Libya has landed in or near the Tunisian town of Dehiba several times in the past week.

Rebels in and around Zintan have also been bombarded by government forces. The rebels, who hold the town, are continuing to resist the attacks as they try to keep open a vital supply route from Tunisia.

They have been backed by NATO air strikes targeting Gaddafi’s forces. At least two Libyan army helicopters are said to have been destroyed.

In Rome the coalition of Western and Arab countries opposed to Gaddafi has agreed to set up a non-military fund worth many millions of euros to help the rebels. The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington would try to get frozen Libyan funds diverted to their cause.

That has brought an angry response from Tripoli.

“Any use of the frozen assets, it’s like piracy in the high seas,” said Libya’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim.