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Libyan rebels take control of Tunisia border crossing

Two Western photojournalists were killed during heavy fighting in the city of Misrata. 13 Libyan soldiers, including a general, turned themselves over to the Tunisian military at the border.

TRIPOLI – Witnesses in western Libya say rebels have taken control of a border crossing with Tunisia, following fierce clashes with pro-government forces, The Voice of America reports.

Sources Thursday said the rebels secured a post on the Libyan side of the border, on a road leading to the Tunisian town of Dehiba.  They say forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi fled across the border into Tunisia to escape capture by the rebels. Libyan state media report that a NATO strike late Wednesday outside the capital, Tripoli killed seven people and wounded 18 others.

On the other hand BBC reports that Tunisia’s state-run TAP news agency says 13 Libyan soldiers, including a general, turned themselves over to the Tunisian military at the border.

NATO officials said that an alliance airstrike hit a military compound in a suburb of the capital, but that there were no indications any civilians were killed.

Earlier, a NATO commander warned civilians in Libya to stay away from pro-government forces so that NATO airstrikes can be more effective, as rebels continue to call on the alliance to step up its attacks.

Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard said NATO planners and pilots do everything they can to avoid civilian casualties, but that the “risk cannot be reduced to zero.” A day earlier, two Western photojournalists were killed during heavy fighting in the city of Misrata. British-born Tim Hetherington (photo), an Oscar-nominated film director and war photographer, was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade on Tripoli Street, the main thoroughfare and the focus of fighting in Misrata. The only rebel-held city in western Libya has come under weeks of relentless shelling by forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Chris Hondros, an American working for Getty Images, died a few hours later of severe brain trauma. His awards include the Robert Capa Gold Medal, one of the highest prizes in war photography.
Two other photographers – Guy Martin and Michael Brown – suffered shrapnel wounds from the blast.

The bodies of Hetherington, 40, and Hondros, 41, were taken from Misrata to Benghazi by the International Organization for Migration aboard the Ionian Spirit, which had been brought in to evacuate civilians from Misrata. Martin and Brown remained in the hospital in Misrata.

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