Libya

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Teenager accused of spying in Egypt released

A Manchester teenager who was arrested in Egypt after being accused of spying has been released.

Muhammed Abul Kasem
FAMILY HANDOUT

Muhammed Abul Kasem was deported to Libya over the weekend.

The 19-year-old was arrested by the Egyptian authorities after he arrived in Alexandria on 21st November on holiday.

He was quizzed over a photo of a military helicopter he had taken on his phone.

The teenager was released without charge on Saturday and returned to his family home in Libya.

UN urges Libyan gunmen to withdraw from oilfields

BBC World Service

The United Nations has called on gunmen who have seized control of one of Libya's biggest oilfields to withdraw from the site.

Armed men demanding better public services for their impoverished communities occupied the Sharara facility in the southern, Fezzan region on Saturday.

The UN mission in Libya said it understood their grievances but shutting the facility could lead to losses of more than $30m (£23m) a day.

It said this would compound the area's economic problems.

The UN urged Libyan authorities to improve services to the region.

Armed group seizes Libya oilfield

BBC World Service

Men work at an oil-drilling rig in El Sharara.
Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images
El Sharara, pictured in 2004, is one of the biggest oilfields

Officials in Libya have confirmed that an armed group has seized control of one of the country's largest oilfields.

Local gunmen were reported to have stormed the facilities at El Sharara, in the southern region of Fezzan, on Saturday.

The militiamen recently threatened to occupy the site if the authorities didn't provide more development funds for their impoverished area.

The Libyan National Oil Corporation said the oilfield's seizure would mean the loss of hundreds of thousands of barrels of production every day. It demanded that the occupation end immediately.

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Heavy rain paralyses Benghazi in Libya

BBC World Service

Heavy rain has paralysed public services in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

Flights have been suspended because of flooding at the airport, while schools and government offices have been temporarily put out of action.

Oil ports in the east of Libya have also closed because of the bad weather.

People have been evacuated in the Qattara valley where there is concern over rising water levels at a dam.

Families have also been evacuated from a refugee camp because of the flooding.

Arena bomber's brother 'extradited soon'

The brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi will be extradited to the UK by the end of the year, according to Libya's prime minister.

Hashem Abedi is seen next to the logo of Libya's Special Deterrence Forces in a handout photo dated May 25
Libyan Interior Ministry
Libya's interior ministry issued this photo of Hashem Abedi in May

Hashem Abedi was arrested in the country shortly after the 2017 suicide attack that killed 22 people.

Fayez Al Sarraj told the BBC that Libya was "fully co-operating" with British authorities and denied that there were any delays on the country's part.

The Home Office said it would not be commenting at this stage.

Haftar photographed with Libyan PM

Analysis: Meeting lacks clear vision

Rana Jawad

BBC North Africa correspondent

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (C) shaking hands with Libya Khalifa Haftar (R), and Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya Fayez al-Sarraj (L)
EPA
Khalifa Haftar (R) met the Italian PM Giuseppe Conte (C) and Libyan PM Fayez al-Sarraj (L)

It is not clear what the aims of the conference in the Italian city of Palermo are, other than to keep Libya on the international agenda.

The country’s stability – however it may come - remains crucial to Europe’s continued policy to reduce illegal migration from there.

Europe is not united over how to move forward on Libya. In the run-up to Palermo, some diplomats privately described the meeting as a would-be “photo-op” that has more to do with the rivalry between the French and Italian visions of how to resolve the crises there, and less to do with Libya itself.

The controversial commander of Eastern Libya’s armed forces, Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter has so far dominated the headlines with his late arrival on Monday and conflicting signals on who he is willing to meet.

He has said he won't go to the official round-table talks but will meet leaders on the sidelines.

At best, observers believe he is reluctantly attending.

In May, a meeting in Paris between him and a now weakened Libyan Prime Minister, Fayez al-Serraj, ended with a verbal declaration to support elections in December.

This has since been abandoned because deep political and armed divisions remain.

The Italians are reluctant to bind any grand plans to a schedule.

A conference of this kind needs a clear vision on goals, and that is sorely lacking from all sides today.