US Imposes Sanctions on Libyans

FILE PHOTO: A sign marks the US Treasury Department in Washington, US, August 6, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
FILE PHOTO: A sign marks the US Treasury Department in Washington, US, August 6, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
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US Imposes Sanctions on Libyans

FILE PHOTO: A sign marks the US Treasury Department in Washington, US, August 6, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
FILE PHOTO: A sign marks the US Treasury Department in Washington, US, August 6, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The US Treasury Department on Thursday imposed sanctions on three Libyans and a Malta-based company, accusing them of acting as a network of smugglers and contributing to instability in Libya.

The Treasury in a statement said it blacklisted Faysal al-Wadi, accusing him of having smuggled drugs and Libyan fuel into Malta.

Also blacklisted were two associates, Musbah Mohamad M Wadi and Nourddin Milood M Musbah, Malta-based company Alwefaq Ltd, and the vessel Maraya, which the Treasury said Wadi used in his smuggling operations.

The Treasury said that "competition for control of smuggling routes, oil facilities, and transport nodes is a key driver of conflict in Libya and deprives the Libyan people of economic resources."

Thursday's action freezes any US assets of those blacklisted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them.

"Faysal al-Wadi and his associates have smuggled fuel from Libya and used Libya as a transit zone to smuggle illicit drugs," said Deputy Treasury Secretary Justin Muzinich.

"The United States is committed to exposing illicit networks exploiting Libya’s resources for their own profit while hurting the Libyan people," he added.

In a related development, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed in a phone conversation the "importance of supporting a UN-brokered ceasefire in Libya through political and economic talks," the State Department said.



WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
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WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that many people in Gaza were facing "catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions".

"A significant proportion of Gaza's population is now facing catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"Despite reports of increased delivery of food, there is currently no evidence that those who need it most are receiving sufficient quantity and quality of food."

Tedros said there were more than 8,000 children under five years old who have been diagnosed and treated for acute malnutrition, including 1,600 children with severe acute malnutrition.

"However, due to insecurity and lack of access, only two stabilization centers for severely malnourished patients can operate," he added.

"Our inability to provide health services safely, combined with the lack of clean water and sanitation, significantly increases the risk of malnourished children."

The war in Gaza began on Oct. 7 when fighters led by Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and took more than 250 hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's response has caused the deaths of more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gazan health ministry, displaced most of Gaza's population of 2.3 million and caused widespread hunger and destruction.

A UN inquiry on Wednesday found that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes early in the Gaza war, and that Israel's actions also constituted crimes against humanity because of the immense civilian losses.

Tedros also highlighted a separate health crisis in the West Bank, where he said healthcare had been targeted by nearly 500 attacks since Oct. 7.

"While the world's focus has been on Gaza, there is also an escalating health crisis in the West Bank, where attacks on healthcare and restrictions on movement of people are obstructing access to health services," he said.

"In most areas of the West Bank, clinics are only operating two days a week and hospitals are operating at about 70% capacity."