Montreal man kidnapped in Libya happy to be home after seven-week ordeal

Now, a month after the Italian government announced the men's release, Poccia told The Canadian Press he considers himself lucky to have escaped the ordeal and happy to be back home with his family in Montreal. "I went through some tough times, but I think my family went through some extremely tough times, and they still are. But he said he knew his family didn't know that, and worried about how it must be affecting them. Poccia says he still doesn't know much about his kidnappers, who he says always wore masks and didn't speak English. He'll work in the Montreal area for now, although he hasn't altogether ruled out going overseas again.

December 03, 2016 12:24 UTC

Libya's Tripoli sees worst militias clashes in 2 years

Reached by phone, a female resident in Tripoli told The Associated Press that families had locked themselves in their homes. The U.N.-brokered unity government's spokesman Ashraf al-Tulty said that a ceasefire agreement has been reached among warring militias but revealed no further details. Each of the warring parties has its political and ideological agendas," said Sami al-Atrash, a Tripoli resident and a legal expert. One of Tripoli's largest and most powerful militias, Tripoli Revolutionaries, led by Haytham al-Tajouri, had previously been ambivalent about the unity government, but it has now joined forces with the Rada militia. On Thursday night, the Rada and Tripoli Revolutionaries militias took control of five-star hotel Al Mahary Radisson Blu Hotel in central Tripoli, where Belhaj had turned some of its rooms into offices.

December 02, 2016 13:37 UTC

In Libya: Militia groups clash in Tripoli, seven reported dead

In Libya: Militia groups clash in Tripoli, seven reported dead50 SHARES Share TweetTanks, trucks and heavy weapons were seen on the streets but the cause of the conflict was not immediately clear. Rival militias clashed in Tripoli leaving at least seven people dead, Libyan media said, as AFP journalists reported hearing gunshots and explosions in the south of the capital. Tanks, trucks and heavy weapons were seen on the streets but the cause of the conflict was not immediately clear. Tripoli is controlled by a loose alliance of militias of different political and religious factions, and clashes between them are an almost daily occurrence. The GNA suffered a fresh setback in October after the rival Government of National Salvation seized key offices in the capital.

December 02, 2016 09:03 UTC

Armed groups mobilise and exchange fire in tense Tripoli

Armed groups mobilise and exchange fire in tense TripoliGunfire could be heard over Tripoli on Thursday as armed groups mobilised heavy weapons and took up positions in several parts of the Libyan capital. Tripoli is controlled by a patchwork of armed groups, some with a quasi official status. Fighting is often sparked by turf wars or revenge attacks, while armed groups are also divided between those that support a U.N.-backed government that arrived in the capital in March and those that oppose it. After the 2011 uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, Libya splintered into rival fiefdoms controlled by groups originally made up of former rebels. The French Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying France was "very worried by the escalation of violence between armed groups in Tripoli".

December 02, 2016 08:40 UTC

Pakistan among list of 13 most dangerous countries in world

The major risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft has compiled a list of countries with the highest risk of violent crime — essentially, a roundup of some of the world’s most dangerous countries. Verisk Maplecroft also splits the countries it assesses into several risk profiles, ranging from low to extreme. Verisk Maplecroft classes 13 countries of having an extreme risk of violent crime. Pakistan: 1.98 — Political and religious tensions are widespread in Pakistan, and the country is frequently plagued by terrorist atrocities. El Salvador: 1.55 — Located in the heart of Central America, El Salvador is plagued by gang violence and drug trafficking.

December 02, 2016 07:52 UTC

Europol: IS tactics evolving, may include car bombs

The 14-page report, an update on methods and tactics used by IS, also said counter-terror experts were concerned that strife-torn Libya could develop into a "second springboard for IS, after Syria, for attacks in the EU and North Africa." THE HAGUE: Terror networks such as the Islamic State group are evolving their tactics to attack soft targets in Europe, which could see the use of deadly car bombs, Europol warned on Friday. The group responsible for attacks in Paris a year ago and in Brussels in March wanted to deploy such devices until police actions forced them to change their plans, the report said. Jihadists massacred 130 people in November 2015 in attacks on the Bataclan concert hall, a handful of bars and restaurants in eastern Paris, and France’s national stadium. In Belgium, suicide bombers struck Brussels airport and a metro station near the European Union headquarters on March 22, killing 32 people.

December 02, 2016 05:57 UTC

Libya’s coastal cities are ‘making millions from people smuggling’

AdvertisementLibya’s coastal cities are making up to €325m (£272m) in revenue each year from people smuggling, the commander of a EU military task force in the Mediterranean Sea says in a confidential report. In a report to the EU’s 28 nations, Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino warns “migrant smuggling, originating far beyond Libyan borders, remains a major source of income among locals in Libyan coastal cities”. AdvertisementBefore risking their lives to cross the sea, refugees and migrants are frequently kidnapped by gangs and forced into “modern slavery”. It has claimed the vast majority of over 4,600 lives of refugees lost in attempted sea crossings so far this year — making 2016 the deadliest year for refugees trying to reach Europe. Libya’s internationally recognised government has pledged to tackle people smuggling in the Mediterranean.

December 01, 2016 16:28 UTC

EU: Libya's cities making $346M a year from people smuggling - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

By FRANK JORDANSAssociated PressBERLIN (AP) - Libya's coastal cities are making millions each year from people smuggling, a European Union military task force commander in the Mediterranean Sea says in a confidential report. The report provides no details on how the figure was calculated and EU officials didn't immediately respond to questions by email or phone Thursday. The EU report assesses the work of Operation Sophia, a naval mission intended to stop the flow of migrants to Europe, between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31. The mission has observed a change in tactics among some smugglers during the 10-month period covered by the report, Credendino said. He suggested that smugglers are also intentionally directing their boats toward aid vessels, which broadcast their location to nearby ships.

December 01, 2016 15:58 UTC

U.S. on watch for Islamic State dispersing in Libya – official

AdvertisementThe United States is “watching very carefully” for Islamic State militants operating outside Sirte as the jihadist group faces defeat in its former North African stronghold, a senior U.S. Department of State official told Reuters. AdvertisementLibyan officials and commanders say that some Islamic State militants fled Sirte in the early stages of the campaign there. Though Sirte was the only Islamic State-controlled city in Libya, the group has a presence in other parts of the country. The battle in Sirte comes as Islamic State is also on the defensive against U.S.-backed campaigns in Syria and Iraq, including in the biggest city of its self-declared Caliphate, Mosul. In that area but also in Libya we are seeing the fighters being squeezed,” Richards said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

December 01, 2016 15:15 UTC

Giving voice to millions of Americans: End U.S. wars of intervention

I recently met with President-elect Donald Trump to give voice to the millions of Americans, including my fellow veterans, who desperately want to end our country’s illegal, counterproductive war to overthrow the Syrian government. We had an hour-long, meaningful, back-and-forth discussion about the problems with current U.S. policy in Syria and where to go from here. The crux of my advice to President-elect Trump was this: we must end this ill-conceived, counterproductive regime-change war immediately. We must focus our precious resources on investing in and rebuilding our own country and on defeating al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups that pose a threat to the American people. Her op-ed on ending U.S. wars of intervention was first published in The Nation on Wednesday.

December 01, 2016 10:29 UTC

Migrant women are taking contraceptives before the journey because they expect to be raped

Women migrants fleeing wars, political instability and poverty are taking contraceptives in the expectation of being raped, but are so desperate they still embark on the journey. Women and girls who risk sexual violence as they flee their home countries are getting contraceptive injections as a precautionary measure, said researcher Hillary Margolis from New York-based Human Rights Watch. SHAREShare on Facebook SHAREShare on Twitter TWEETPin to Pinterest PINLink Women fleeing war and hardship expect to be raped but are so desperate they still embark on the journey. SHAREShare on Facebook SHAREShare on Twitter TWEETPin to Pinterest PINLink Women and children protest their case to the UK government at the notorious Jungle camp in Calais, France. "And for women, there is even more hardship because women became the battlefield of war, of abuses.

December 01, 2016 01:11 UTC

Libyan general Khalifa Haftar meets Russian minister to seek help

Khalifa Haftar, the military commander of Libya’s eastern government, has met Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and said he was seeking Moscow’s help in his fight against Islamic militants at home. Haftar, on his second visit to Moscow since the summer, requested military support from the Kremlin in September, according to Russian media. Haftar has received public backing from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and France sent special forces to work alongside Haftar’s Libyan National Army earlier this year. When asked, the Kremlin did not say whether it might offer Haftar any military support, describing the talks with him as business as usual. “We spoke in general,” Haftar told reporters after the talks with Lavrov.

November 29, 2016 21:00 UTC

Conflicting news about Ras Ajdair border shutdown

Some social media reported the Libyan authorities’ shutdown of the country’s border of Ras Ajdair with Tunisia. The Libya Observer could not verify the reports so far. On the other hand, all crossings between Libya and Tunisia via Ras Ajdair border have been suspended for the second day in a row, except for the Libyans and Tunisians who are returning to their countries from either side. This shutdown was caused by protesters from Ben Guerdane district in Tunisia as they blocked the main road that connects their district to Ras Ajdair border. A number of Ben Guerdane residents set up a tent on the main road that connects their district to Ras Ajdair border with Libya in Bukataf town in protest of the strict measures of the Libyan side and prohibiting the Tunisian smugglers from smuggling fuel and foods from Libya to their country.

November 29, 2016 19:05 UTC

Martin Kobler departs Tobruk after being prevented from going into city by protesters

The Head of the UNSMIL, Martin Kobler, left the city of Tobruk after being prevented by protesters from leaving its airport toward the headquarters of the House of Representatives. Angry protesters gathered Tuesday in front of Jamal Abdelnaser airbase and Tobruk airport to protest the visit of the UN envoy to Libya to their city, holding slogans condemning him and describing him as the reason behind the political fragmentation in Libya. Some other people held slogans rendering Kobler as persona non grata in Tobruk. Kobler had arrived in Tobruk aboard a UN airplane and was received at the High-profile Visitors Room by the first deputy speaker of the HoR, Emhemed Shuaib, who had to discuss the political agreement with Kobler inside the meeting hall in the airport after the protesters refused to let Kobler roll in the city.

November 29, 2016 17:18 UTC

Libyan fisherman rescues 120 illegal immigrants off northern Zuwara shores

A Libyan fisherman saved the lives of 120 illegal migrants who were stranded onboard a broke down dinghy 7 miles off northern Zuwara shores. The migrants were from different Arab, and African nationalities in addition to Bangladeshis, Libyan News Agency reported the spokesman of the Libyan Navy, Ayoub Qassim, who added that there were also 6 women. “I wrestled the waves all the way through the ocean by tugging the broken down dinghy to Zuwara port using my small fishing boat.” The fisherman was reported as saying. The coastguards received the 120 migrants and humanitarian and medical assistance was duly provided for them before they would be sent to the Passports Investigation Apparatus, as there was no centers for the Illegal Immigration Fight Department in Zuwara.

November 29, 2016 15:58 UTC

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