1. Libya's gas deal with Italy prompts backlash

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and the head of Libya's Government of National Unity, Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah attend a joint news conference in Tripoli, Libya January 28, 2023.
    Image caption: Italy PM Giorgia Meloni and head of Libya's GNU, Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, oversaw the signing of the deal

    Key Libyan political figures have rejected an $8bn (£6.4bn) gas production deal overseen by the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU) and the Italian government.

    Rights groups and observers in the country have also criticised memorandums of understanding reached between the two governments aiming to crack down Mediterranean migration flows.

    The energy deal was signed between Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) and Italian energy firm Eni during a visit by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and an accompanying delegation to Tripoli on Saturday, while the memorandums were signed between the two countries' foreign ministers.

    The GNU's outspoken oil and gas minister Mohammed Aoun spoke to Al-Wasat's WTV shortly after the gas deal was signed, calling it "illegal" and saying it "lacks equality between the Libyan and Italian sides".

    He said his ministry was "bypassed" on the deal which he reiterated was illegal and pledged to "rectify".

    On Sunday, the ministry released an official statement reiterating Mr Aoun's points, further criticising the deal for increasing the Italian side's shares from 30% to 37%.

    During a press conference after the signing of the deal on Saturday, a reporter from the pro-GNU Lana news agency asked the NOC chairman Farhat Bengdara why Mr Aoun had been absent from the ceremony.

    In a strongly worded response, Mr Bengdara said his company "works according to the law, and whoever sees this procedure as illegal must go before the court".

    He added that GNU ministers had been involved in approving the NOC negotiation team and that the government had international recognition.

    He also said the agreement was a "message to international oil companies" to return to Libya to continue with energy exploration as well as a "clear indication that the oil sector in Libya is free of risks".

  2. Paris train stabbing suspect identified as Libyan

    Tom Bayly

    BBC World Service News

    Passengers are seen waiting at the Gare du Nord train station as French police cordon off an area after a knife-wielding suspect injured six people, including a police officer in Paris,
    Image caption: The suspect is said to have injured six people at Paris's Gare du Nord rail station

    Reports from France say a suspected attacker who stabbed and injured six people at Paris's Gare du Nord rail station on Wednesday has been identified as a Libyan national aged in his 20s who was due to be deported.

    Police are still investigating the motive but are not believed to be treating it as a terror related.

    Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has praised the courage of two off-duty police officers who intervened to halt the attack.

    The suspect was shot three times and taken to hospital with serious injuries.

  3. Mixed emotions over arrest of Lockerbie bombing suspect

    BBC World Service

    Lockerbie bombing
    Image caption: The Lockerbie bombing happened on 21 December 1988

    The families of the victims of the 1988 bombing of a Pan-Am plane have expressed both concern and delight about the arrest, by the United States, of a Libyan man suspected of making the bomb that destroyed the aircraft over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

    All 259 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 747 bound for New York from London died while another 11 people were killed in Lockerbie when the wreckage destroyed their homes.

    The Reverend John Mosey - whose daughter died in the attack - says the case of Abu Agila Masud should be heard under the Scottish legal system.

    But Kara Weipz, whose brother Richard Monetti was on board the flight said the suspect's arrest and trial in the US was an amazing feat.

    Only one man - Abdul Basset al Megrahi - has ever been convicted over the bombing.

    More on this story:

  4. Libya invites global oil firms to resume operations

    Mike Thomson

    BBC World Service News

    A picture taken on September 24, 2020 shows a partial view of the Brega oil port some 270kms west of Libya's eastern city of Benghazi.
    Image caption: Libya has Africa’s largest crude oil reserves

    Libya’s Tripoli-based government of national unity has invited international oil companies holding contracts with the state oil firm to resume working in the country.

    Production has been frequently halted over the last decade following invasions of oil sites by armed groups and protesters.

    Tensions have been fuelled by an ongoing battle for power and resources between rival administrations in the west and east of the country.

    Libya has Africa’s largest crude oil reserves and is desperate to increase production to fund much needed investment in housing, transport and electricity networks.

  5. UN urges Libya probe into killing of 15 migrants

    Mike Thomson

    BBC World Service News

    Libyan health workers recover bodies of drowned migrants, who were hoping to travel to Europe by sea, after a shipwreck off the beach in Sabratha, some 120 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, on November 25, 2021
    Image caption: Libya has long been a key route for the smuggling of migrants to Europe

    The UN has urged authorities in Libya to order a “swift, independent and transparent” investigation into the killing of 15 migrants near the coastal city of Sabratha.

    The bodies were found on Friday, most of them burned inside a charred boat.

    The UN mission in Libya said the killings were thought to have resulted from clashes between rival trafficking gangs and is demanding that the perpetrators be brought to justice.

    Libya has long been a key route for the smuggling of migrants to Europe.

  6. Dozens of bodies found in Libya mass grave

    Mike Thomson

    BBC World Service News

    A scene beside a mass grave site in a large agricultural area known as Mashrou al-Rabet in Meji on September 27, 2021 in Tarhuna, Libya.
    Image caption: There have been previous discoveries of mass graves in Libya (file photo)

    Libya’s missing person’s authority says the unidentified bodies of 42 people have been found in a mass grave in the coastal city of Sirte.

    The authority made the discovery at the site of a former school.

    The area was controlled by the Islamic State (IS) group between 2015 and 2016.

    Another mass grave containing the remains of 34 Ethiopian Christians was discovered near Sirte in 2018.

    The find came more than three years after IS published a video showing its members executing at least 28 men.

  7. Over 500 dead in Libya torture, executions - report

    BBC World Service

    A leading rights group campaigning against torture says that law enforcement agents and militias in Libya killed at least 581 civilians between the start of 2020 and March this year.

    The World Organisation Against Torture says the number of those killed includes people executed in detention facilities or tortured to death.

    The report is the first to focus on extrajudicial killings in Libya and is based on a two-year investigation carried out by Libyan civil society organisations, which interviewed survivors and witnesses.

    The report says that the cases it was able to document are only the tip of the iceberg.

  8. More than a dozen injured in Libya fuel blast

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    An explosion at a fuel station in the southern Libyan city of Sabha has caused more than a dozen injuries, with several outlets saying the depot in question was storing smuggled fuel.

    Dramatic footage of flames rising out of the depot, in the Al-Jadeed neighbourhood of the city, circulated widely on social media late on Tuesday.

    The Tripoli-based Ambulance and Emergency Agency said on Facebook in the early hours of Wednesday that the number of injured had risen from 13 to 17, but that there were no critical cases.

    The blast comes weeks after an explosion in the nearby town of Bent Bayya killed 26 people, when a group of residents tried to extract fuel from an overturned tanker.

    The incident provoked demonstrations and unrest in Libya's southern region, which has been disproportionately affected by recent fuel shortages, exacerbated by disruptions to oil production.