Officials said the Libyan attack took place on Sept. 12, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the
Libyan patrol ship opened automatic fire on the Sicilian fishing boat about
50 kilometers off the coast of Libya.
In 2009, Italy donated six naval patrol boats to Libya as part of
military and security cooperation between Rome and Tripoli. Italy has also
sought to become a major military supplier to Libya, a former colony.
Officials acknowledged that security cooperation between Italy and Libya
has been painstaking. They cited interoperability, language and political
difficulties as well as Libya's reluctance to be seen as the policeman of
the western Mediterranean.
Libya has been criticized for its denial of human rights to detained
illegal migrants. Officials said Italy has urged Libya not to use live fire
to intercept boats suspected of containing illegal migrants to Europe.
"Perhaps they mistook the fishing boat for a boat with illegal
migrants," Maroni said on Sept. 14. "It was a serious incident, but just an
In the latest incident, none of the Italian fishermen were wounded. Ship
captain Gaspare Marrone recalled heavy Libyan gunfire that struck gas
cannisters on board.
"It could have been a massacre, but luckily we got away," Marrone told
the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
Italy's opposition has criticized the government of Prime Minister
Silvio Berlusconi for the relationship with Libya. In August 2010, Libyan
leader Moammar Gadhafi arrived in Italy and urged young women to convert to