Libya: NATO air-strikes, refugee crisis escalate

NATO stepped up air raids on targets in Tripoli May 24, carrying out more than 20 strikes—many near Moammar Qaddafi’s compound, the Bab al-Aziziya. A regime spokesman said at least three were killed and dozens wounded in the raids, which targeted buildings used by volunteer units of the Libyan army. NATO said in a statement that a number of the raids hit a vehicle storage facility adjacent to the Bab al-Aziziya that has been used to supply regime forces “conducting attacks on civilians.” The regime made a show of support for Qaddafi, with loyalists filling the streets outside hotels where Western journalists stay, declaring their love of the dictator, honking horns and firing guns in the air. (The Guardian, May 24)

Meanwhile, Tunisian troops fired tear gas and warning shots to stop fighting between local residents and refugees at a camp on the Libyan border. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees withdrew its staff from the camp because of the fighting. At one point, an angry crowd of about 100 Tunisians in the Choucha refugee camp at Ras Ajdir and used iron bars and clubs to attack a car carrying journalists covering the unrest. No casualties were immediately reported at the camp of 3,500 refugees on Tuesday, but four Eritrean refugees were reportedly killed in violence there earlier this week, and numerous tents were put to the torch. The violence was apparently sparked when refugees—mostly from Eritrea, Somalia and Ivory Coast—staged a protest in response to a rumor that they were to be forcibly repatriated to their home countries, blocking roads to local traffic. (AP, May 24)

See our last posts on Libya and the struggle in regional revolutions

Please leave a tip or answer the Exit Poll.