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Military forces from Italy, Qatar in Libyan port ahead of revolution anniversary

Published time: February 13, 2013 14:22
Edited time: February 14, 2013 14:44
An Italian Army soldier walks by some of the twenty military vehicles during an handing over ceremony by Italy to Libya at a Libyan Navy Base on February 6, 2013, in Tripoli (AFP Photo / Mahmud Turkia)

An Italian Army soldier walks by some of the twenty military vehicles during an handing over ceremony by Italy to Libya at a Libyan Navy Base on February 6, 2013, in Tripoli (AFP Photo / Mahmud Turkia)

Arms and troops from Italy and Qatar are arriving at Tripoli's Al Njela seaport to help the Libyan leadership, should violence erupt on the second anniversary of the revolution that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

­The reports came from the port of Said, Libya, where, as a source told RT, about 120 armed cars have already driven in with 35 more set to arrive.

Libya is stepping up security nationwide, and is set to close its borders with Egypt and Tunisia at 2:30am local time on February 14 until February 18, according to a statement by the Prime Minister. The anniversary of the start of the uprising falls on February 17.

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said that international flights would also be suspended at all airports except for those in the capital Tripoli and second largest city Benghazi in the east, according to state news agency Lana.

Security services were placed on alert, and checkpoints have been established across Tripoli ahead of the anniversary.

On Tuesday, top Libyan and foreign officials agreed on a plan to boost security in the country, including tighter border controls, the disarmament of former fighters and the training of troops. Participants in the high-profile meeting included Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammad Abdel-Aziz and his counterparts from France, Britain, Italy, Denmark, Turkey and Malta.

The measures came after calls for massive protests, with some activists urging a “second revolution.”

Security officers patrol around the city ahead of the country′s two-year anniversary marking the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi, in Benghazi February 12, 2013 (Reuters / Esam Al-Fetori)
Security officers patrol around the city ahead of the country's two-year anniversary marking the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi, in Benghazi February 12, 2013 (Reuters / Esam Al-Fetori)
photo from RT source
photo from RT source

Two years after a popular uprising that lasted for almost a year – which toppled and killed long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi – Libya remains largely destabilized.

In December, Libya closed its borders with Algeria, Niger, Chad and Sudan, citing a deterioration of security in the south of the country, and declared the region a military zone. Conflict in Mali and Sudan is seen as the reason behind the closure, as well as the fact that Libya's southern border is 4,600 kilometers long and mostly desert.

Soldiers from the Italian army stand in front of the 20 Puma-type military vehicles donated by Italy to the Libyan army, at the naval base in Tripoli February 6, 2013 (Reuters / Ismail Zitouny)
Soldiers from the Italian army stand in front of the 20 Puma-type military vehicles donated by Italy to the Libyan army, at the naval base in Tripoli February 6, 2013 (Reuters / Ismail Zitouny)

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