By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 31 October 2015:
The Libyan airforce has said that it launched warplanes to see off three Italian naval . . .[restrict]vessels which the government has protested had entered Libyan territorial waters.
The government claimed this evening that the three Italian vessels had violated Libya’s sovereignty by sailing into coastal waters near Daryanah, to the north east of Benghazi without any coordination with Libyan authorities.
It continued that the incursion was “completely unacceptable and unlawful under all UN international treaties” .
It threatened to use “all means” to protect its territorial waters.
Later Libya Air Force commander Saqr Geroushi was quoted by the government news agency LANA as saying “Our fighter jets have successfully ended [an incursion] by Italian vessels”.
The jets had apparently made high speed passes over the foreign warships. No shots were fired. The Italians were reported to have headed towards Derna, presumably outside the 12-mile maritime limit.
There has been no reaction in Italy to the incident. The air force has not identified the Italian vessels. It would seem unlikely that they were part of the European migrant patrol, since virtually all the people smugglers operate from far to the west in areas controlled by Libya Dawn. [/restrict]