Chad Says It Repulsed Rebels

N'DJAMENA, Chad — Troops loyal to Chad's president struck back at rebels besieging his palace Sunday, and the government said it repulsed an attack by Sudanese forces in the east that it called "a declaration of war."

In the capital, N'Djamena, government helicopters and tanks defended Idriss Deby's fortified presidential complex against rebels in pickup trucks mounted with cannon and machine guns who stormed into the city Saturday.

On Chad's far eastern frontier with Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur region, the army said it had beaten back a ground and air attack against the border town of Adre by a mixed force of Sudanese army troops and allied rebels and militia.

Deby's minister of state for mines and energy, General Mahamat Ali Abdallah Nassour, called the attack on Adre "a declaration of war" by Sudan, in comments to Radio France International.

Sudan's government denied the accusations from its neighbor that it had backed the offensive by an alliance of Chadian insurgent groups, who denounce Deby as corrupt and dictatorial.

The rebel assault, the second to hit the Chadian capital in almost two years, sent France and other foreign governments scrambling to evacuate their nationals from the oil-producing central African country, which has a history of wars and coups.

Radio France International reported that several hundred people had been injured in two days of confused street fighting.