NDJAMENA, CHAD, SEPT. 6 -- Chad said today its troops, making their first incursion into Libya, inflicted heavy losses on Libyan forces while destroying a strategic air base. Libya blamed France and the United States for the attack and warned of retaliation.

A Chadian military statement said Chadian troops chasing retreating Libyan soldiers crossed into Libya yesterday and attacked the Matan Sarra air base, 60 miles inside Libyan territory in the southeastern corner of the country. It said the base was taken after several hours of combat.

The statement said that at least 30 Libyan aircraft were at the base and that the base had been protected by 2,500 Libyan troops. It said Libyan casualties were "very heavy."

The statement said the Chadian action was the first of its kind in Libyan territory.

Chad said Libyan aircraft had used the base for bombing runs against Ounianga-Kebir, Faya-Largeau, Yebbi Bou, Gouro and other towns in northern Chad.

{Libya bombed Chadian positions at the air base Sunday, Reuter reported. Official Chad radio said waves of bombers pounded dug-in Chadian troops. Yebbi Bou and Ounianga-Kebir were shelled by the Libyans, the Chad radio added.

{Libya said Chad's attack on what it described as a civilian airport had been unsuccessful, adding that a second attack today had also been repulsed.

{Meanwhile, U.S. News and World Report said in its Monday issue that the United States is considering supplying Stinger antiaircraft rockets to Chad. A State Department spokeswoman said she had not seen the article and had no comment.}

Ahmad Allam-Mi, Chad's ambassador to France, indicated in Paris that Chad does not plan to keep troops at the captured air base long. He said, "One does not hold onto a base that one has destroyed."

Speaking on French television, Allam-Mi said that it is not Chad's intention to occupy part of Libya and that Chad was seeking only "to preserve the integrity of Chadian territory."

The Libyan Foreign Ministry said in a statement broadcast by Libyan radio that Chadian President Hissene Habre has become the "tool" of the United States and France in committing aggression against Libya.

The broadcast said the French ambassador to Libya had been summoned to the Libyan Foreign Ministry and "was informed that the agent Habre has been carrying out aggression against Libya with French training, support and protection inside Chad."

The statement said, "The matter no longer concerns any alleged border dispute between Libya and Chad. It is an organized, aggressive operation financed and planned by America and France."

It said it is Africa's responsibility to "help expel the foreign presence in Chad."

Diplomats considered the loss of the air base an embarrassment to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who on Sept. 1 during the 18th anniversary of his revolution celebrated Libya's recapture Aug. 28 of the village of Aozou, about 310 miles west of the air base in the disputed Aozou strip between Chad and Libya.

Observers said the Chadian incursion was part of Habre's effort to end Libyan influence in northern Chad and gain control of the Aozou strip.