About 500 Europe-bound migrants intercepted off Libya
ABOARD GEO BARENTS (AP) — Libya’s coast guard Sunday intercepted a wooden boat carrying around 500 Europe-bound migrants off the country’s shore, the U.N. refugee agency said.
It marked the latest sea interception amid a surge in crossings and attempted crossings from the North African nation to European shores in recent months. It took place two days after a massive crackdown on migrants in a western Libyan town that resulted in the roundup of at least 4,000 migrants.
Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East, hoping for a better life in Europe. The trend developed after the country was plunged into chaos following the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Human traffickers have benefited from the chaos in the oil-rich nation and smuggled migrants through the country’s lengthy border with six nations. They then pack desperate migrants into ill-equipped…