Libya: Haftar vows to attack Italian warships

The military commander of Libya's unrecognized eastern government, Khalifa Haftar, has threatened to bombard any warships sailing into the country's national waters—an explicit challenge to Italy, which is dispatching vessels to the Libyan coast as part of its effort to intercept migrants seeking to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa. "The General Commander of Armed Force Marshal Khalifa Haftar instructs chiefs of staff of air and navy forces to intercept any foreign vessels in the Libyan waters except the commercial ones," read a statement from the media office of Haftar's Operation Dignity forces. The statement took aim at the recognized government in Tripoli, which it accused of entering into agreements with foreign powers that "violate the sovereignty of Libya under the pretext of fighting illegal immigration." (Al Jazeera, Aug. 3; Libya Observer, Aug. 2)

  1. Europe rights chief warns Italy on Libya migrant interception

    The European Union's top human rights organization asked Italy for more information on its program of intercepting migrants at sea, warning that any moves to return them forcibly to Libya would violate international treaties. The Council of Europe said Oct. 11 it had written the letter a day after an Italian navy ship helped Libya’s coastguard intercept 228 migrants. The coastguard later brought the refugees back to Libya. (Reuters)