This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
The European has lost its war against the flow of illegal immigrants from Libya. Israeli sources toldthat the “boat line” between Libya and Italy has become a “highway” of terror elements that take advantage of the situation.
In a desperate effort to do something Europe’s leaders are carefully weighing the chances of pulling off an unusual military operation: Bombing small boats before they’re loaded up with fishermen or illegal migrants.
With old fishing boats often capsizing thanks to the weight of their human cargo, and old zodiac dinghies often deflating at sea, the number of migrants drowning this year alone has now topped 1,600, fast approaching the 3,400 who died on the route last year.
According to Defense News, amid public outcry, the European Union offered a hastily drawn up 10-point plan involving a reinforcement of search-and-rescue operations at sea, but also “A systematic effort to capture and destroy vessels used by smugglers.”
That was followed up by an emergency meeting of EU leaders on April 23, which agreed to consider ways to put the smugglers out of business.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron put it, “smash the gangs,” while Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi talked about plans to “capture and destroy the boats.” Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti said, “We know where the smugglers keep their boats, where they gather,” adding that “the plans for military intervention are there.”
Italian defense sources said Italian drones are already monitoring human traffickers and smugglers who act undisturbed in Libya, which has collapsed into tribal feuding and lawlessness since the NATO bombing in 2011 helped oust Moammar Gadhafi.
Britain and France said they planned to seek a UN Security Council resolution to take action in Libyan territorial waters, while EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini visited the UN on April 28 to gauge support.
Observers said bombing boats would depend on hitting them after they were acquired by traffickers from local fishermen in Libya and before they were packed with migrants – a risky mission.