Libya’s internal war is inflaming neighbouring Tunisia. Tunis has warned Tripoli it considers the firing of rockets by Libyan forces towards Tunisian territory as “enemy action”.
The border is a supply lifeline for Libyan rebels fighting on the western front, and ambulances carry the wounded across for care. Some 40,000 people, mostly women and children have fled the Western Mountains into Tunisia.
Tunis protested that the Libyans were failing to keep their pledge to prevent forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi from cross-border firing.
The dangers of the Libyan conflict carry great distance. African migrants who have reached the Italian island of Lampedusa say they risk rotting boats, even with nothing to feed the children taken on board, because rebel-held Misrata, under siege, is unlivable.
One said: “Three weeks or two weeks plus, we’ve been locked inside house, no way to come out, no way to get food. Then not to die in that place, we find ourselves into the boat and run away. “
The UN estimates that one in ten people die on their maritime escape from Libya, but says it expects that many more will try to leave. Refugee authorities say the months with the most landings are from July to October. Bodies washed ashore are buried in Lampedusa.