11 migrants dead, 263 rescued off Libya coast

Illegal migrants of different African nationalities arrive at a naval base in the capital Tripoli on April 22, 2018, after they were rescued off the coast of Zlitan from two inflatable boats. (AFP / MAHMUD TURKIA)
Updated 23 April 2018
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11 migrants dead, 263 rescued off Libya coast

  • The dead migrants drowned when their dinghy overturned, say rescuers
  • Libya has become a key launch pad for migrants making desperate bids to reach Europe, often on unseaworthy vessels

TRIPOLI, Libya: At least eleven migrants died at sea and another 263 were rescued on Sunday in two separate operations off the coast of Libya, the country’s navy said.
In the first operation, “a coast guard patrol... was able to rescue 83 illegal migrants and recovered 11 bodies in a rubber boat five nautical miles northeast of Sabratha,” navy spokesman General Ayoub Kacem told AFP.
Sabratha is about 70 kilometers (40 miles) west of Tripoli.
“The 11 dead migrants drowned when the dinghy overturned but were recovered by the survivors and hoisted into the boat,” said Mohamad Erhouma, a member of the nearby city of Zawiyah’s coast guard.
The second rescue operation took place off the coast of Zliten in the country’s east, where 180 migrants were rescued from two boats, according to General Kacem.
Zliten is about 170 kilometers (100 miles) east of Tripoli.
The migrants, of different African nationalities, “were aboard two inflatable boats when they were intercepted and then brought back to the port of Tripoli,” he said.
Since the 2011 fall and killing of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Libya has become a key launch pad for migrants making desperate bids to reach Europe, often on unseaworthy vessels.
Last year alone, 3,116 people died attempting the crossing, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), including 2,833 from Libya.
The conflict-riven country is regularly singled out for the exploitation and ill-treatment of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.


Turkey vows to keep striking PKK targets in Iraq

Updated 25 min 28 sec ago
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Turkey vows to keep striking PKK targets in Iraq

  • Turkish foreign ministry said the country expected neighboring Iraq to fulfill its responsibilities in combatting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party
  • Turkey will invoke its “legitimate right to self-defense” if Iraq “does not do what’s necessary”

ISTANBUL: Turkey says it will continue to defend itself against terrorists after its strikes against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq sparked criticism from Baghdad.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said Saturday that Turkey expected neighboring Iraq to fulfill its responsibilities in combatting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. He says Turkey will invoke its “legitimate right to self-defense” if Iraq “does not do what’s necessary.”
Iraq summoned Turkey’s ambassador on Friday to protest Turkish air raids on Iraq’s Sinjar and Makhmour mountains, where the PKK operates. The group has waged an insurgency inside Turkey for more than three decades but also fought against the Daesh group in Iraq.
The Turkish Defense Ministry says Thursday’s strikes targeted PKK bases that supply Kurdish positions in northern Syria.