This marked the first time Gadhafi forces, backed by artillery and
armored combat vehicles, entered Tunisia. Tunisia, which ousted its longtime
president in February, has been accused by the Tripoli regime of
harboring and aiding the rebel movement.
Officials said the Libyan Army entered Tunisia as part of an operation
to destroy the rebel movement in the Western Mountains. They said Gadhafi
forces have been successful in capturing rebel positions throughout the
region, forcing the anti-regime fighters to flee into nearby Tunisia.
"The situation is under control and there is no reason for alarm," the
Tunisian Defense Ministry said.
The ministry urged Tunisians in Dehiba and the rest of the border region
to "show restraint and vigilance, so as to help the Tunisian armed forces
manage the situation correctly." The statement did not elaborate.
Earlier, Gadhafi forces captured a post along the Libyan border with
Tunisia. In late April, the rebels claimed that they repelled the Libyan
Army and retook the border position.
Officials said the Tunisian Army has been ordered to send reinforcements
to Dehiba and other areas that border Libya. They said the troops would also
protect Libyan refugees who sought haven in Tunisia.