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Libyan Revolution Fighters Take Control of Wazin Post on Tunisian Border,  Journalists Tim Hetherington, Chris Hondros Killed in Misrata

By Clovis CASALI reporting from Tripoli, Libya (video)

 News Wires (text)  

April 21, 2011, AFP -

 Rebels overran Muammar Gaddafi's forces at a Tunisian border post on Thursday, prompting some 100 pro-Gaddafi fighters to flee across the border into Tunisia and surrender. They are currently being interrogated by Tunisian forces.

 Libyan rebels took control of a post on the Tunisian border early Thursday and about 100 soldiers loyal to Mu'ammer Qadhafi fled into Tunisia and surrendered, witnesses said.

Rebels took control of the Wazin border post after overrunning Kadhafi forces in brief clashes.

While sporadic shooting was still going on, an AFP correspondent saw 102 disarmed pro-Kadhafi soldiers, including officers, who turned themselves in to Tunisian troops about 200 metres (yards) from the border.

The Libyans were being interrogated one by one by Tunisian forces.

The Libyan rebels in a four-wheel-drive vehicle had briefly followed the pro-Kadhafi soldiers into Tunisian territory before returning to their embattled country, an AFP correspondent said.

Customs officials and Tunisian soldiers said that injured Libyan troops were evacuated to a hospital in nearby Dehiba.

The Wazin post is on the road linking the Libyan district of Nalut to Dehiba, on the Tunisian side.

By Clovis CASALI / David THOMSONreport from Dehiba, Tunisia

More than half a million people have been forced to flee since the start of the conflict in Libya. In recent days families of insurgents from the south west of Libya have crossed the border into Tunisia. FRANCE 24 reporters met with some of them at the Dhibat refugee camp. The men all say they will be soon heading back to Libya to defend their town of Nalut.

Witnesses said several hundred people cheered and flew the flags of Libya's former monarchy, now an emblem of the rebellion, as rebel fighters celebrated their strategic gain by firing into the air.

The AFP correspondent was able to cross into Libyan territory and see that the rebels controlled the Wazin border post.

Some insurgents paraded in the bucket of a bulldozer and dozens of rebel vehicles were present at the border post, located about 200 kilometres (125 miles) south of the main Tunisian-Libyan crossing at Ras Jdir.

They used a tractor to wreck a huge poster of Colonel Kadhafi that marked the entrance to Libyan territory.

The second-in-command of the Libyan rebels said that "between five and 10" pro-Kadhafi soldiers were killed and around 25 injured. The rebels sustained only "one lightly wounded man", added Youssef, using an assumed name.

Youssef said that the attack on Dehiba had been carried out "to enable the wounded" to get to medical care.

After taking on supplies of water, most of the rebels headed towards the mountainous Libyan district of Ghzeya, where pro-Kadhafi forces are located, Youssef added.

The rebels left a force to guard the border post in the event of a counter-attack.

One of three Tunisian military helicopters which were sent to the region late Wednesday overflew the zone after the clashes, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the Libyan town of Nalut.

Fighting has been getting closer to the border for several days.

On Monday, mortar shells fired by pro-Kadhafi forces landed in the Dehiba area, leading the Tunisian government to register a "strong protest" with the Libyan authorities.

LIBYA Journalists killed in Misrata immortalised realities of war

A Tunisian military source said that the shells had been aimed at Libyan rebels by pro-Kadhafi forces who were chasing them from the high ground overlooking the area.

Fighting has rocked western Libya for several days, with more than 100 people reported to have been killed in Nalut and Yefren in the Al-Jabal Al-Gharbi region.

The two towns southwest of Tripoli have been pounded by forces loyal to Kadhafi. Local residents said thousands of Libyans from Al-Jabal Al-Gharbi have fled to Tunisia, even though much of the area is controlled by the insurgency.

The head of the Tunisian police post at the border put the number of Libyans to have crossed in the Dehiba region at 14,000 between April 6 and April 19.

On Wednesday the Tunisian army deployed about 100 soldiers north of Dehiba to provide security in the area.

Journalists killed in Misrata immortalised realities of war

 By William EDWARDS (video)

FRANCE 24 (text)  

April 21, 2011

British journalist Tim Hetherington (right) and American Chris Hondros (left) were killed on Wednesday covering the battle for Misrata in western Libya. Both photographers had covered conflict zones extensively in their careers.

It is one of the last pictures taken by Getty Images photographer Chris Hondros: a gravedigger stops for a break in Misrata, surrounded by scores of fresh tombs. The award-winning American photographer became another statistic in the brutal fighting in eastern Libyan city on Wednesday afternoon, the day the picture (below) was published.

Hondros and fellow photographer Tim Hetherington were killed in the fighting in central Misrata, a rebel-held city in western Libya that has been under intense attack by Gaddafi’s forces for more than seven weeks. Two other photographers were injured in the incident.

At the time of their deaths both Hetherington and Hondros were at the height of their field. Hondros, a native New Yorker, had covered the conflicts in Kosovo, Angola, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq. Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his work in Liberia, the 41-year-old won the prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal in 2006 for his "exceptional courage and initiative" in Iraq. 

The photograph below is of a young girl in Iraq, taken in 2005. Both her parents were killed when US soldiers opened fire on the car she was travelling in.

Hetherington, an Anglo-American, was in Libya on assignment for Vanity Fair. He has worked extensively in Africa, where he lived for eight years. He gained worldwide recognition for his work in Afghanistan in 2007, winning the World Press Photo award for his picture essay on a remote US base in the Korengal Valley. While he was there he also filmed his Oscar-nominated documentary “Restrepo”, about a platoon of US soldiers serving in Korengal.

The day before he was killed, Hetherington tweeted: “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.”

The precise circumstances of their deaths are unclear, although a statement from Hetherington's family said he was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Two journalists killed in Misrata: report

TRIPOLI, April 21, 2011 (Xinhua) --

Two western journalists were killed in Libya as heavy fighting continued over night in the city of Misrata, al-Jazeera channel reported on Thursday.

British photographer and Oscar-nominated documentary director Tim Hetherington, 41, was killed during mortar attacks in Tripoli street in Misrata.

Also, American photographer Chris Hondros who works for Getty Images lost his life at hospital in Misrata due to serious brain injuries.

Doctors at a hospital in Misrata said they received on Wednesday up to 100 injured people, mostly civilians.

"The situation was relatively calm at this time, and then all of a sudden a mortar shell was fired and we heard explosions," said a Spanish photographer who was accompanying the late journalists.

Also al-Jazeera reported the death of a correspondent in Libya while covering the conflicts there.

On the other side, Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said that the Libyan government felt "sorrow" over the journalist deaths; however, he added that "people die from our side and the other side; they get caught in the middle."

The state-run Al-Jamahiriya TV channel put the death toll over the past 24 hours to 11 civilians in addition to 18 injured. Meanwhile, the opposition said that Gaddafi's forces are using tanks and artillery to pound homes in the eastern city of Misrata.

Misrata is currently under a continuous and heavy shelling from pro-Gaddafi forces, attacks that entered its seventh week and leaving scores of civilians dead and injured.

Editor: yan

FRANCE 24 EXCLUSIVE Beleaguered rebels fight on in Misrata

FRANCE 24 EXCLUSIVE - LIBYA Rooting out Gaddafi’s snipers in Misrata

FRANCE 24 EXCLUSIVE - LIBYA Rebel-held Misrata under siege from Gaddafi forces

THE INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE - Mustapha Abdel Jalil, leader of the Libyan Transitional National Council

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