An Italian Special Forces unit is believed to have hunted down the largest people smuggler in Libya. The assassination allegedly took place on Friday in Libya’s capital city of Tripoli, near the city’s primary hospital.
Salah al-Maskhout was said to be the most prominent smuggler of immigrants in the Mediterranean. He was said to have been leaving an acquaintance’s residence when the shooting took place.
The Italian squad reportedly had four members that were armed with handguns. They supposedly used their vehicle to block Salah al-Maskhout’s car as he attempted to leave. Before he could get away, the squad killed him, along with others in his presence.
However, the accuracy of the story has been questioned by multiple parties.
Italy has denied the involvement of any of its country’s Special Forces in Libya.
Other people are claiming that Salah al-Maskhout was not the victim. People familiar with Salah al-Maskhout have stated that he is alive and well in Zuwara, a port city in eastern Libya that is known for immigrant smuggling.
Instead, it is speculated that Muhammad Salahuddin al-Maskhout was the victim. Muhammad Salhuddin al-Maskhout was a former official of the Gaddafi government. He controlled fishing territories that were located between Zuwara, Sicily, and Tunisia. His family reportedly has a large influence over the area near the Mellitah oil and gas complex, which represents the starting point of the Greenstream pipeline. This pipeline is operated by an Italian company called Eni.
Furthermore, last July, four Italian construction workers were taken hostage in the area. Negotiations for their release are ongoing. The attack could have taken place by the Italians for negotiation revenge purposes.
Some people theorize that the attack against Muhammad Salahuddin al-Maskhout was conducted by the Italian mafia. This theory makes sense because the mob would want to control lucrative smuggling routes.
Representatives of the hospital’s medical staff have stated that they have only found projectiles used exclusively by Western Special Force units.
Meanwhile, Western powers have indicated their desire to stop the smuggling of immigrants in Libya, as European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said last Thursday that a second phase of operations against immigrant smugglers would soon commence.
The EU has recently been taking a harder stance against immigration, as estimates from the United Nations show that 129,000 immigrants have arrived in Europe from Libya this year alone.