Tunisia reopens main border crossing to Libya


Trucks heaped with food and water and carloads of people streamed into Libya through the main border crossing with Tunisia hours after Tunisian authorities reopened it, a Reuters witness said.

Libyan rebels wrested the Libyan side of the Ras Jdir crossing from soldiers loyal to Muammar Gaddafi on Friday, giving them control of the coastal highway between Tunisia and the war-scarred capital Tripoli.
“Tripoli needs lots of food. There is nothing there … we’re bringing this to them and then we’ll do more runs as needed,” said Lassad Trabelsi, a Libyan driving a truck loaded with tomatoes, water and fruit, Reuters reports.
“The opening of this post will really allow Tripoli and all Libyan towns to resume a normal life after six months without access to necessities,” he said.

Tripoli and other parts of Libya ravaged by fighting are short of water and food, and aid groups have said there are not enough medical supplies to treat the thousands of wounded.

Marwen Thassi, a U.N. official at the border, said the world body had not yet started moving aid into Libya.
“We need to wait a few days before making a decision to send aid, as the situation remains unstable in some towns (along the coastal highway),” he said. “But we salute the reopening of the border, which has allowed merchants to start moving supplies.”

Among the roughly 100 vehicles queueing at the border were Libyans returning home after taking refuge from the fighting. On the Libyan side of the border, rebels manning the post fired weapons into the air in celebration.
“It is a huge joy to be able to return to Libya after three months in Tunis,” sais Ala Abou Ajilla, a resident of Zuara travelling with his family.
“We were welcomed in Tunisia like kings, but we are proud of our own country. Finally we can see our great land without Gaddafi,” he said.

Tunisian traders from nearby Ben Guerdan set up stalls of food and other supplies to sell. “We’re ready to supply whatever our brothers need,” one of them said.