UN mission to Libya says political activist abducted in Misrata

UN mission to Libya says political activist abducted in Misrata
A screengrab taken from a video showing Libyan political activist Al-Moatassim Al-Areebi who was abducted in Misrata, and the United Nations Libya mission (UNSMIL) called on the Libyan authorities to free him and to end arbitrary detentions. (X/@Laamnetwork)
Short Url
Updated 10 July 2024
Follow

UN mission to Libya says political activist abducted in Misrata

UN mission to Libya says political activist abducted in Misrata
  • Al-Areebi, 29, was abducted on Monday in the city of Misrata by unidentified armed men in civilian clothes
  • UNSMIL urged Misrata city’s security and law enforcement agencies to urgently investigate the abduction of Al-Areebi

TRIPOLI: The United Nations Libya mission (UNSMIL) called on Wednesday on Libyan authorities to free political activist Al-Moatassim Al-Areebi and to end arbitrary detentions.
Al-Areebi, 29, was abducted on Monday in the city of Misrata by unidentified armed men in civilian clothes along with his friend Mohamed Shtewi, the mission said in a statement.
UNSMIL said that Shtewi was released “after being beaten” but that the whereabouts of Al-Areebi “remain unknown.”
UNSMIL urged Misrata city’s security and law enforcement agencies to urgently investigate the abduction of Al-Areebi, disclose his whereabouts, and secure his safe and immediate release.
Misrata is a port city some 200 km (125 miles) east of the capital Tripoli. The Tripoli government is considered to be in charge of Misrata but has not commented on the case.
“Reports of arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment, torture, and deaths in custody committed with impunity continue to plague Libya,” the mission said.
Libya has had little peace or stability since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted its leader Muammar Qaddafi.
It split in 2014 between eastern factions in Benghazi, the second-largest city, and western factions in Tripoli, with rival administrations governing in each region.
“The Mission has documented cases of at least 60 individuals currently detained across the country for their actual or perceived political affiliation,” UNSMIL said in the statement.


US voices concern to Israeli officials after Gaza strikes

US voices concern to Israeli officials after Gaza strikes
Updated 10 sec ago
Follow

US voices concern to Israeli officials after Gaza strikes

US voices concern to Israeli officials after Gaza strikes
  • The visit comes several few days before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to address the US Congress on July 24
  • Israel has killed more than 39,000 Palestinians in Gaza, mostly civilians

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with two senior Israeli officials Monday and voiced worry over recent deadly strikes by Israel in the Gaza Strip, his spokesman said.
The Israeli army has launched several deadly attacks in recent days including on a refugee camp and a UN-run school that was being used as a shelter. In response, Hamas said it was pulling out of ceasefire negotiations, causing prospects for a truce and hostage release deal to dwindle.
Blinken received Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi “to express our serious concern about the recent civilian casualties in Gaza,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.
On Saturday, Israeli strikes killed more than 90 people in the Al-Mawasi camp near Khan Yunis, Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said. In May, the camp was declared a safe humanitarian zone by the Israeli military, which told civilians to evacuate to it.
Israel said it had been targeting Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif, one of Israel’s most wanted men for decades, and Rafa Salama, the Islamist movement’s commander in Khan Yunis, believed by Israel to be one of the masterminds of the October 7 attack that triggered the current war.
A Hamas official said Sunday that Deif was “well and directly overseeing” operations, though doubts remained. The two Israeli officials told Blinken that “they do not have certainty yet” about Deif’s fate, according to Miller.
The discussions also focused on a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, humanitarian aid for Gaza and post-war plans, he said.
The visit comes several few days before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to address the US Congress on July 24.
“We continue to hear from Israel directly that they want to reach a ceasefire and that they’re committed to the proposal that they put forward,” Miller said.
The United States has strongly defended Israel’s right to defend itself after the October 7 attacks by Hamas, in which 1,195 people, mostly civilians, were killed, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.
During the attack, Hamas militants also seized 251 hostages, 116 of whom are still in Gaza including 42 the military says are dead.
But Biden has been under mounting political pressure over the plight of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s military offensive has killed at least 38,584 people, also mostly civilians, according to data provided by the Gaza health ministry.
 

 


Libyan airline executive held in migrant smuggling case

Libyan airline executive held in migrant smuggling case
Updated 36 min 42 sec ago
Follow

Libyan airline executive held in migrant smuggling case

Libyan airline executive held in migrant smuggling case
  • The airline flew “hundreds of people from east Asian countries without taking into account the obligations of the air carrier” and migration legislation, as well as international treaties ratified by Libya, the statement said

TRIPOLI: A Libyan airline’s commercial director has been arrested in an investigation into flying illegal migrants who intended to enter the United States to Nicaragua, the attorney general’s office said.
The case concerns flights organized by private airline Ghadames Air, the office said in a statement published overnight Sunday-Monday.
It said the airline flew “hundreds of people wishing to enter the territory of the United States through the territory of the Republic of Nicaragua, in violation of applicable immigration rules.”
Authorities ordered “the imprisonment of the commercial director of Ghadames Airlines for committing activity harmful to the country’s interests,” it said.
The airline flew “hundreds of people from east Asian countries without taking into account the obligations of the air carrier” and migration legislation, as well as international treaties ratified by Libya, the statement said.
It added that violation of “the protocol to combat the smuggling of migrants by land, sea and air” was of particular concern.
An investigation published in late May by Le Monde newspaper said several Ghadames Air charter flights took hundreds of Asian migrants to the Nicaraguan capital Managua from Benghazi and Tripoli.
Like most Libyan airlines, Ghadames Air is banned from entering European Union airspace for security reasons.
Libya has been wracked by division and unrest since the 2011 NATO-backed overthrow of former dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
The North African country is divided between two rival administrations, and has become a hub for tens of thousands of migrants seeking to reach Europe by sea.
According to the International Organization for Migration, there are more than 700,000 migrants in Libya, largely Nigerians and Egyptians.
However on July 10, Imad Trabelsi, interior minister in the Tripoli-based administration, said “there are approximately 2.5 million foreigners in Libya.”
He added that “70 to 80 percent of them entered the country illegally.”
 

 


Iraqis protest over summer blackouts and water shortages

Iraqis protest over summer blackouts and water shortages
Updated 49 min 44 sec ago
Follow

Iraqis protest over summer blackouts and water shortages

Iraqis protest over summer blackouts and water shortages
  • Iraq is the second-largest oil producer in the OPEC cartel, but despite having immense oil and gas reserves, it remains dependent on imports to meet its energy needs
  • Many households have just a few hours of mains electricity per day, and those who can afford it use private generators to keep fridges and air conditioners running

DIWANIYAH, Iraq: Hundreds of Iraqis in the southern province of Diwaniyah protested on Monday against power cuts and water shortages during the extreme heat of summer, an AFP correspondent said.
Decades of war have left the country’s infrastructure in a pitiful state, with power cuts worsening the blistering summer when temperatures often reach 50 Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) mostly in southern provinces.
Dozens of villages in Diwaniyah have also suffered for years from water shortages because of a four-year-long drought and reduced river flows.
On Monday, around 500 angry protesters encircled the municipality building in Shafeiya village, burning tires and chanting for better services.
“We don’t have electricity. We used to get it for only two hours (per day), but now it is only one hour and 15 minutes,” said protester Youssef Kamel.
“We don’t have water or agriculture,” he said, adding that “everyone has left to look for jobs” as laborers in the cities.
Last week, hundreds of people also protested outside electricity department offices in Ghamas district, blocking roads and burning tires.
On Saturday, police used tear gas to disperse protesters, and dozens were briefly detained.
Iraq is the second-largest oil producer in the OPEC cartel, but despite having immense oil and gas reserves, it remains dependent on imports to meet its energy needs.
Neighbouring Iran supplies about a third of its power sector requirements.
Many households have just a few hours of mains electricity per day, and those who can afford it use private generators to keep fridges and air conditioners running.
Anger over corruption, unemployment and blackouts helped to fuel deadly protests from late 2019 to mid-2020.
The protests morphed into an unprecedented anti-government movement, mostly across southern Iraq and in Baghdad, before a security crackdown killed more than 600 people.
 

 


Jordanian king, UK’s PM discuss ties, Gaza war

Jordanian king, UK’s PM discuss ties, Gaza war
Updated 52 min 5 sec ago
Follow

Jordanian king, UK’s PM discuss ties, Gaza war

Jordanian king, UK’s PM discuss ties, Gaza war
  • King Abdullah congratulates Keir Starmer on his recent election victory

AMMAN: Jordan’s King Abdullah II received a call on Monday from the newly elected UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer, and the parties discussed the strengthening of ties between their countries, the Jordan News Agency reported.

King Abdullah congratulated Starmer on his recent election victory and stressed Jordan’s commitment to enhancing cooperation for the benefit of both nations and the broader region’s security and stability.

The conversation also addressed the pressing issue of Israel’s war in Gaza, with King Abdullah emphasizing the urgency of rallying the international community to secure an immediate and lasting ceasefire, ensure the protection of civilians, and increase the flow of humanitarian aid to the region.

King Abdullah expressed his grave concerns about the potential for the conflict to expand regionally, and reiterated Jordan’s stance in support of a two-state solution remaining the sole path to achieving a just and comprehensive peace.
 


UN’s Gaza chief says scenes after Al-Mawasi attack among ‘most horrific’ of past 9 months

UN’s Gaza chief says scenes after Al-Mawasi attack among ‘most horrific’ of past 9 months
Updated 58 min 17 sec ago
Follow

UN’s Gaza chief says scenes after Al-Mawasi attack among ‘most horrific’ of past 9 months

UN’s Gaza chief says scenes after Al-Mawasi attack among ‘most horrific’ of past 9 months
  • Scott Anderson describes smell of blood, double-amputee toddlers, and parents searching for kids in rubble, amid aid restrictions and breakdown of law and order
  • He calls for immediate ceasefire, release of all hostages, and for Israelis to grant international media ‘desperately needed’ access to the territory

NEW YORK CITY: The director of the main UN agency operating in Gaza painted a harrowing picture on Monday of the dire humanitarian situation there, which he said has become even more desperate following an Israeli strike two days ago on a crowded part of the town of Al-Mawasi.

The attack on Saturday killed at least 90 people and injured hundreds, turning the area, close to the Mediterranean coast, into a burnt wasteland littered with charred and mangled bodies.

Speaking in the nearby city of Khan Younis, Scott Anderson, the head of UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza, said that following the air strike he visited the local Nasr Hospital, where staff were in chaos and despair, and “overstretched” amid shortages of medical supplies and equipment that continue to compromise their ability to effectively treat patients.

“I witnessed some of the most horrific scenes I’ve seen in the nine months that I’ve been here,” he added.

“The air was filled with the smell of blood and one health worker was mopping up pools of blood on the floor using only water because there aren’t sufficient disinfecting materials or other cleaning supplies to stop the spread of infection.

“There are not enough beds, hygiene supplies, sheeting, mattresses or scrubs, and many patients were treated on the ground or on waiting-room benches without disinfectant. It just puts even treatable injuries at risk of sepsis and much more significant complications.”

He continued: “Ventilator systems were not working due to electrical problems. And as I walked through the hospital and talked to families and children, we saw toddlers who are double amputees; children paralyzed and unable to receive treatment because they don’t have the equipment at the hospital in Khan Younis; and others who were separated from their parents.

“And we also saw mothers and fathers searching frantically within the hospital for their children, unsure if they were alive.”

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled to Al-Mawasi, which is on the western outskirts of Khan Younis, after Israel declared it a safe zone and have been sheltering there.

The attack at the weekend is “just another reminder that nowhere is safe in Gaza and no one is safe in Gaza,” said Anderson.

Echoing comments by all other humanitarian workers since the start of the war, he underscored the need for a complete and permanent ceasefire and for “all parties to the conflict to protect civilians, wherever they are, but especially in UN schools and hospitals.”

Since the war began in October, more than 190 UNRWA facilities have been hit, many of them several times. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by fighting and, highlighting their plight, Anderson said: “Nine out of 10 people in Gaza are displaced. Almost everyone has been forced to flee, over and over, and on average people in Gaza have had to move at least once a month.”

This massive, continuing displacements have not only disrupted lives but robbed families of what little stability and few possessions they had managed to retain, he added.

“The term ‘displacement’ sounds very sterile (and) I don’t think does justice to what people go through when they move,” he said.

“People are often only able to take whatever they can carry. They’re mostly on foot and some are only able to carry their children. Many have lost everything and they need everything.”

What is most frustrating, Anderson added, is that after nine months of war, what people require remains the same as what they needed when the war began.

“It’s very basic,” he said, including food, water, medicine and basic hygiene supplies. Women in particular are in urgent need of hygiene kits and sanitary products, “and we’ve been unable to meet that need over the course of the nine months.”

Five schools, including three UNRWA shelters, have been hit by military strikes in the past week alone, Anderson said, killing dozens of Palestinians and injuring scores. He lamented the obstacles that continue to prevent aid workers from delivering desperately needed humanitarian supplies “in the right quantity and the right quality.”

He added: “Several factors continue to stand in our way (including) restrictions on movement; the safety of humanitarian aid workers; not the right supplies are coming to Gaza; unpredictable working hours; telecommunication challenges; as well as fuel.”

Another factor affecting the free movement of aid is the “complete” breakdown of law and order, which only got worse when the Israeli military operation began in Rafah, Anderson said.

“The truck drivers that we use are being regularly threatened or assaulted,” he revealed. “Tires were shot out on their trucks on Friday. And they become less and less willing, understandably, to move assistance from the border crossings to our warehouses, and then on to people that are in need.

“We have had some challenges with people looting, which really isn’t a surprise. After nine months, people are hungry, people are angry, people are desperate and there aren’t any police to maintain social order.”

Anderson also highlighted the fact that nine months into the war, it is still the case that no international media have been granted access to Gaza, which he said is something that is “desperately needed.”

He added: “The only media, really, are people like myself or others talking to you. (In) most war zones, journalists and media workers perform a very vital function by informing the public about what is happening and they highlight the impact the wars have on innocent civilians.”

He urged Israeli authorities to allow reporters from international media organizations to enter the territory and added that “every effort must be made to protect journalists and media workers, wherever they are in Gaza.”

Anderson concluded by once again underscoring the urgent need for a ceasefire as a “respite for the people of Gaza, the release of hostages so they can return to their families, and a meaningful opportunity for healing to begin.”