Libya confirms it rescued 290 migrants in Mediterranean

Humanitarian groups object to returning migrants to lawless Libya, citing reports of abuse, beatings and other inhuman treatment. (File/AP)
Updated 24 May 2019
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Libya confirms it rescued 290 migrants in Mediterranean

  • Friday’s statement from the navy says the Libyan coast guards found a sinking rubber boat whose bottom had collapsed on Thursday
  • It says the migrants — Arab and African nationals — were handed over to Libyan police after receiving humanitarian and medical aid

CAIRO: Libya's navy confirmed on Friday that it rescued three boats carrying a total of 290 Europe-bound migrants off the country's Mediterranean coast, a day after a German aid group released video showing a sinking raft packed with dozens of migrants, with some people scattered in the sea.
Libyan coast guards first reported finding a sinking rubber boat whose bottom had collapsed on Thursday, leaving most migrants in the water and hanging onto what was left of the boat and plastic barrels. A statement posted Friday on the navy press center's official Facebook page says that boat carried 87 migrants, including six women and a child.
Earlier, the coast guard came to the rescue of two other rubber boats carrying a total of 203 migrants, according to a separate statement.
The three boats carried mostly Arab and African nationals as well as 14 Bangladeshis, who were handed over to Libyan police after receiving humanitarian and medical aid.
A few hours earlier, German aid group Sea-Watch said its aircraft had witnessed three rescue operations by Libyan coast guards on Thursday.
Libya became a major conduit for African migrants and refugees fleeing to Europe after the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed dictator Moammar Gadhafi and amid the subsequent chaos and turmoil that engulfed the oil-rich North African country.
Thousands have perished while making the perilous sea crossing, while others have been detained and abused in Libya by smugglers and armed groups.


Israel’s Lieberman ‘not backing anyone for PM’

Updated 18 min 23 sec ago

Israel’s Lieberman ‘not backing anyone for PM’

  • Lieberman has insisted on a unity government between his party

JERUSALEM: Israeli ex-Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday he will not endorse either Benjamin Netanyahu or Benny Gantz for prime minister following last week’s deadlocked elections.

Lieberman, who could potentially play a kingmaker role, spoke to journalists as President Reuven Rivlin began consulting political parties on who they will back for prime minister. Lieberman’s secular nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party won eight seats in the 120-seat Parliament in Tuesday’s election. A delegation from Lieberman’s secular nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party was due to meet Rivlin later on Sunday.

Yisrael Beitenu won eight seats in the 120-seat Parliament in Tuesday’s election.

Lieberman has insisted on a unity government between his party, Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud and Gantz’s centrist Blue and White. He said he could not for now back Netanyahu because he is willing to form a coalition with Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, which he accuses of seeking to impose religious law on the secular population.

Lieberman also said he could not back Gantz for now because he may reach a deal with either the ultra-Orthodox or Israel’s Arab parties, which he called “enemies.”