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In brief: Libyan shells strike Tunisia

Benghazi, Libya – Fighting in western Libya spread into neighboring Tunisia, where the government Friday condemned the shelling of its territory and the official press agency reported more than a dozen trucks had crossed the border carrying forces loyal to Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The Libyan incursion into Tunisia raised the specter of an escalation of the war between a rebel force backed by NATO air power and fighters for Gadhafi, who has been in power for four decades.

Tunisia, a nation forging a new future after mass protests forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to resign in January, has endeavored to retain a neutral stance toward the tumultuous events in neighboring Libya – despite the influx of thousands of refugees fleeing violence in Libya.

Syrian protests, deaths mount

Cairo, Egypt – Defying tanks, troops and gunfire, thousands of people took to the streets Friday across Syria to protest the regime’s bloody crackdown on a 6-week-old uprising and press a demand for the ouster of President Bashar Assad, according to witnesses, activists and news reports.

More than 60 people were killed, according to human rights activists.

In the first concrete international response to the crackdown, the Obama administration announced sanctions against three top Syrian security officials, including Assad’s brother.


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