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Sicilian fishermen’s capture escalates ‘red prawn war’ between Italy and Libya by STEFANIA D'IGNOTI November 23,2020   |  Source: Politico

There’s little question that Libya’s lawlessness poses a threat to European security. But while the danger of a failed state on the Continent’s doorstep remains largely abstract for most, it has become a painful reality for Insaf Jemmali.

Since September, Jemmali has anxiously waited for news of her father Farhat, one of 18 Sicilian fishermen detained in Libya by forces of militia leader Khalifa Haftar, who controls the eastern half of the war-riven country.

The 21-year-old has been checking her phone day after day, hoping for a call from Italy’s foreign ministry.

“But that call never comes, and each day passes by without knowing if he’s safe and healthy, if he knows I’ve been advocating for his release,” Jemmali said, a sob breaking her voice.

Jemmali and her family live in Sicily’s Mazara del Vallo, a key port for Italy’s fishing industry. With its proximity to North Africa, the town is home to a large immigrant community — a diversity reflected in Mazara’s fishing crews, including those who ran into trouble off Libya this summer.

The 18 fishermen — eight Italian citizens and 10 Tunisians, Senegalese and Indonesians who have been living in Sicily for decades — were stopped at sea by Libyan patrol boats on September 1.

The Libyans

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