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Italian navy escorts freed fishermen back to Sicily

18 dicembre 2020 | 14.53
LETTURA: 1 minuti

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An Italian navy frigate is escorting 18 fishermen who set sail for Sicily on a two-day sea voyage on Friday after their release from detention in Libya, the defence ministry tweeted.

"The fishermen from Mazara del Vallo will arrive in Sicily on Sunday escorted by the navy's 'Margottini', which is engaged in the Mare Sicuro (Mediterranean naval and aerial surveillance) Operation," read the tweet.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Italian navy will keep operating the Mare Sicuro operation and the European Union's Italy-led Irini mission in the Mediterranean. The navy will also continue to take part in operations in the Gulf of Guinea and the Indian Ocean, the defence ministry stated.

The 18 fishermen were freed after 107 days in captivity in Benghazi after Italy's premier Giuseppe Conte and foreign minister Luigi Di Maio flew to the eastern port city on Thursday for talks with warlord Khalifa Haftar.

Haftar's forces intercepted the fishermen's boats on 1 September and held the men after they allegedly entered Libyan coastal waters.

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