The air force commander of Libya’s internationally recognized government has warned European countries that any vessels entering Libyan waters without permission would be targeted by air strikes.
The warning came after European Union foreign ministers agreed on Monday to launch a naval operation to combat people-traffickers who have brought thousands of migrants on perilous journeys across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
Securing consent from Libya, where two rival governments and their armed forces are battling for control, has been a major concern for European powers trying to stem an increasing flow of migrants from Libya’s shores.
“Any vessel found in Libyan waters without previous cooperation or permission will be targeted by the air force,” Libyan air force commander Saqr Al-Jaroushi told Reuters late on Monday.
The self-declared National Salvation government, set up last summer when an armed faction called Libya Dawn took over the capital, has also expressed its “deep concern” over the EU plan. reuters.comLibya warns EU on migrant operation – ‘sign of frustration by West-installed forces’