TUNIS Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi are clashing with rebels a few kilometers from the main border crossing into neighboring Tunisia, Tunisians close to the border told Reuters Saturday.
A businessman called Ali, who trades with Libya, said there were clashes at Abu Kammash, an industrial town on the Mediterranean coast about 10 km from the Ras Jdir border crossing, which is controlled by Gaddafi's forces.
"There is fighting at Abu Kammash. The Tunisian police have asked us not to go into Libya. I tried to go in but the clashes forced me to come back," the businessman told Reuters.
A second businessman from the border area, who did not want to be identified, said: "There are heavy clashes going on between the rebels and Gaddafi's forces to try to control the Ras Jdir crossing."
A third source, who was at the Ras Jdir crossing, said the pro-Gaddafi military had brought up heavy weapons, including tanks, to protect the checkpoint, which controls the main supply route for the Libyan capital, a vital lifeline for the government.
(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Tim Pearce)