Coast guard rescues over 250 migrants off Libyan coast

Immigrants rescued by the Libyan coastguard arrive at a naval base in the capital Tripoli in this file photo. (AFP)
Updated 16 December 2017
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Coast guard rescues over 250 migrants off Libyan coast

TRIPOLI: Libya’s coastal guard has rescued more than 250 illegal migrants trying to leave the North African country in small boats bound for Italy, officials said on Saturday.
Libya’s western shores are the main departure point for migrants mainly from sub-Saharan countries fleeing poverty and conflict trying to reach Europe.
Arrivals to Italy have fallen by two-thirds since July from the same period last year after officials working for the UN-backed government in Tripoli, Italy’s partner, managed to cut back human smuggling in the city of Sabratha west of the capital.
That has pushed the trade further east, with the coast guard intercepting several boats off the coast near Qaraboulli and Zliten, two towns located east of Tripoli.
“The naval forces’ Ibn Ouf vessel rescued (on Friday) illegal migrants including women, children and men ... they are from different sub-Saharan and Arab countries,” Coast Guard Captain Abdulhadi Fakhal told Reuters.
“They were rescued off Qaraboulli and Zliten towns ... and they are about 250 to 270 persons,” Fakhal said.
Libya has plunged into chaos since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising. A UN-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli has been trying to gain control of territory.


8 EU countries urge Israel to reconsider village demolition

It rebuked the Israeli High Court’s Sept. 5 decision to demolish the desert community. (AP)
Updated 48 min 7 sec ago
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8 EU countries urge Israel to reconsider village demolition

  • The eight countries are France, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany and Italy

UNITED NATIONS: Eight European Union nations are underlining their opposition to Israel’s planned demolition of the Palestinian village of Khan Al-Ahmar and are urging its government to reconsider the decision.
The statement was read by Dutch Ambassador Karel Van Oosterom outside the UN Security Council on Thursday. It rebuked the Israeli High Court’s Sept. 5 decision to demolish the desert community.
The eight countries are France, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany and Italy. They say in the statement that they “will not give up on a negotiated two-state solution with Jerusalem as a capital” of both Israel and a new Palestinian state.
That was an implicit slap at US President Donald Trump’s declaration in December that contested Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.