The border crossing of Ras Jedir was temporarily closed after shots were fired on the Libyan side of the border on Saturday January 30.
The Ministry of the Interior said shots were exchanged on the Libyan side of the border in a brief clash between 10:50 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Saturday January 30, incident near the Ras Jedir border crossing (Medenine Governorate).
According to the Ministry of the Interior’s statement: Libyan Border Guards and a “Libyan militia ‘Tarek El Ghayeb’ exchanged fire within ‘300 meters’ of the Tunisian Libyan border.”
In a ‘business as usual attitude’ the Ras Jedir border crossing was temporarily closed, only to reopen 30 minutes later.
Ministry of Defense spokesman Belhassen Oueslati later told Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP) that it appeared Libyan border guards had instead fired warning shots to ‘deter smugglers from advancing’.
In another incident on Wednesday January 20, Defense Ministry spokesman Belhassen Oueslati announced that the Tunisian army had exchanged fire with a vehicle attempting to infiltrate the closed military zone along its border with Libya. The vehicle had then reversed course back to Libya, according to the statement.
The Tunisian Libyan border was closed for fifteen days following the November 24 suicide bombing in Tunis which killed twelve members of Tunisia’s Presidential Guard.
The Sousse and Bardo attacks which killed sixty, were perpetrated by gunmen who had received training in militant camps outside the Libyan UNESCO city of Sabratha. After the Sousse attack Tunisia began erecting a security fence along its border with Libya.
In July, 2014 two Egyptians were killed by Libyan border guards who tried to disperse massive crowds attempting to flee Libya to Tunisia as fighting raged in Tripoli and Libya’s airports were closed by fighting.
In January 2013 riots erupted in Ben Guerdane, which is economically reliant on trade and smuggling with Libya, over the closure of the Ras Jedir.