Italy busts Libya fuel smuggling ring as EU agrees to give Italy more support
According to the Libya Herald, a year-long covert operation by Italian police has led to the busting of a multinational gang smuggling diesel worth at least $35 million from Zawiyya to Sicily from where it was sold on to the rest of Italy and elsewhere in Europe. Arrest warrants have been issued for nine alleged members of the gang, including Libyan Fahmi Mousa Saleem Ben Khalifa, who has been held since August by Rada in Tripoli.
On 19 October, EU leaders agreed to provide “stronger support” to Italy for its work in Libya and increase funding to the Africa Trust Fund.
“We have a real chance of closing the Central Mediterranean route,” chairman Donald Tusk said after 28 EU leaders meeting in Brussels discussed migration, stressing the need to lower the number of arrivals from Africa going through the Mediterranean to Italy. EU executive European Commission told the group they needed to immediately chip in an extra 225 million euros for migration-related projects in Africa due to run this year and early next. “If we do want to be as present as possible in Africa – mainly in the Northern part of Africa – we have to increase financial means,” Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said.