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Algeria on a 'state of alert' along Libya border

Algeria's army fears terrorist attacks from militias in Libya as North African neighbouring teeters on the edge
Powerful Libyan militias have caused concern among regional neighbours of an imminent attacks (AFP)

Algeria’s Air Force has been put on a state of alert along its border with Libya as part of a security strategy to counter anticipated "terrorist" attacks, an Algerian security source said on Wednesday.

"As part of the plan, any convoy of vehicles approaching the border will be destroyed upon entering Algerian territory," the source, requesting anonymity, told Anadolu Agency.

He said that any unauthorised entry into Algerian territory would be considered a "hostile act".

"The Algerian military leadership fears the possibility of Libyan terrorist groups targeting foreigners in Algeria in the event of western military operations against jihadist groups in Libya," the source said.

Algeria shares a 1,000-kilometer border with Libya.

Civil war has broken out in Libya between a coalition of Islamist-Misrata militias and troops led by the former Gaddafi general Khalifa Haftar.

A 100 people were killed this week west of the capital Tripoli as the Islamist-Misrata coalition of Libya Dawn shelled pro-government tribal forces from the Warshefana region. Mohamed al-Kelani, a former MP and leading commander in the Islamist Libya Shield militia, was killed on Wednesday in clashes with the Wershfana tribe in the capital.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, at least eight army troops loyal to Haftar’s Operation Dignity were killed in clashes with Islamist militias in the eastern city of Benghazi. A source within the Haftar camp told Anadolu Agency the losses were sustained as their forces successfully repelled an offensive by militiamen.

The source added that the militias suffered “heavy casualties” in the fighting. 

With the civil war deepening, rumours continue to intensify that a regional intervention in Libya is imminent.

On Wednesday, the official spokesperson for the Tobruk-based House of Representatives, Faraj Bou Hashem, denied that the house had signed an agreement with the Egyptian government allowing their forces to enter Libya.

“The news reported by the al-Masry news site on Tuesday about the signing of an agreement between the House of Representatives and Egypt allowing Egyptian forces to enter Libyan territory is completely untrue,” the Hashem was quoted as saying by news site Arabi21.

Both sides in Libya have accused the other of gaining military assistance from outside the country. Libya Dawn forces accused the UAE and Egypt of carrying out a series of air strikes in Tripoli last month – accusations that appear to have been backed up by unnamed US officials in a New York Times report, although the US has never officially blamed the UAE for the strike.

Pro-Haftar forces in the east have similarly slammed Qatar and Sudan for allegedly flying in weapons to support the Libya Dawn forces.