Italy Proposes ‘Targeted Strikes’ to Solve IS, Refugee Problems

Italy Proposes ‘Targeted Strikes’ to Solve IS, Refugee ProblemsItaly Proposes ‘Targeted Strikes’ to Solve IS, Refugee Problems

A massive influx of refugees from Libya, where IS extremists have been gaining ground, can be halted or at least reduced by extending “targeted anti-terrorist strikes” into the coastal area, said the Italian FM.

“We don’t have months and months [to sort this out]. The double risk of the advance of the Islamic State group in Libya and the waves of migrants means we are in a race against the clock,” Italian foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni told the Corriere della Sera, RT reported.

Gentiloni said part of the solution could be “targeted anti-terrorist strikes” against the IS-controlled strongholds along the Libyan coast. “We need to take care of this emergency not as a single country, but as a union,” he said.

He also called for a tighter collaboration with partners in the regions “so that refugees can be welcomed in neighboring countries.”

The quest to reach the safe waters of Italy via the turbulent waters of the Mediterranean ended up in tragedy earlier this week. The Italian authorities arrested 15 people believed to have been responsible.

Hundreds of Libyans died making the crossing this week alone. Just last Sunday 400 migrants drowned when their vessel capsized off Libya coast.

In the most recent incident, early Friday morning, the Italian Coast Guard saved 70 people off the island of Lampedusa. Traveling a long journey on a rubber dingy, the refugees had to be stretchered off to shore as they suffered severe burns in a gas cylinder explosion.

“[The refugees] told us that they were in one of the places where traffickers hold migrants and refugees before placing them on boats, and a gas cylinder exploded and killed several people and injured many others,” Barbara Moinario of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees explained.

 “The traffickers would not allow them to leave and reach the hospital so they didn’t get treatment for a few days, and then they were put on a boat, in fact a rubber dinghy.”

As IS advances in Libya gain pace, an estimated 1,000 refugees have perished crossing the sea since the beginning of this year. That’s compared to just 17 during the same period of 2014, according to the UN refugee agency.