Hamas accepts ceasefire; Israel strikes Rafah

Hamas announced on May 6 that its leaders have told Egyptian and Qatari mediators that they accepted the most recent Gaza ceasefire proposal. Israel's war cabinet responded by voting to continue the planned military operation in Rafah, and the IDF carried out new air-strikes on targets in the southern Gaza city. The strikes came as Palestinians in Gaza were celebrating Hamas' announcement, and Israeli protestors in several cities joined families of the hostages to demand that Israel accept the deal.

War crimes suits against Libya's Haftar dismissed

A US judge on April 12 dismissed a group of civil lawsuits accusing Libyan military leader Khalifa Haftar of war crimes. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said she had no jurisdiction to preside over a case concerning crimes committed in Libya—even though Haftar has US citizenship and lived for more than 20 years in the DC suburbs of northern Virginia. The ruling came as a reversal in the case; in 2022, Brinkema had entered a default judgment against Haftar after he refused to sit for scheduled depositions. Haftar subsequently sent lawyers to argue on his behalf, and the default judgment was put off. 

Italy detains rescue ship after confrontation with Libya

At least one person drowned March 2 after a group jumped overboard from a migrant boat as the EU-supported Libyan coast guard fired shots into the water to stop an NGO vessel from carrying out a rescue operation. The rescue vessel Humanity 1 was subsequently seized and ordered detained for 20 days by Italy—over the protests of the German non-governmental organization that operates it, SOS Humanity. Italian authorities invoked the Piantedosi Decree, a new legal provision that imposes a stricter set of requirements for charities that rescue migrants at sea, with potential penalties of stiff fines and impoundment of ships. The Humanity 1 is currently being held at Crotone, a port in Italy's southern region of Calabria.

Russia creates new Africa Corps

Following the death of Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian ministries of defense and foreign affairs quickly moved to reassure African client states that business as usual would continue—meaning that Moscow's unofficial boots on the ground would keep operating in these countries. Now  reports indicate a transformation, with Wagner's estimated force of 5,000 troops—deployed from the Sahel to Libya to Sudan—to be brought under Defense Ministry command as a new Africa Corps. (The Conversation)

Shock, anger follow North Africa disasters

The death toll from catastrophic flooding in northeast Libya continues to climb, with reported numbers now ranging as high as 11,300—and thousands still unaccounted for. People across Libya have stepped up to help, sending convoys of aid across the politically divided country and opening their homes to strangers. Meanwhile, anger is spreading about why two dams in the port city of Derna—which collapsed under the weight of flooding, leading to the destruction of entire neighborhoods—were allowed to decay. There have also been accusations that authorities ignored warnings about the severity of the storm, contributing to the massive death toll. 

Libya: new inter-factional clashes shake Tripoli

Months of relative peace in Libya's capital were shattered Aug. 14 as clashes erupted between two militia factions aligned with the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU). The fighting began when the Special Deterrence Force, which controls the city's airport, seized 444 Brigade commander Mahmoud Hamza as he attempted to fly out. Calm was restored two days later when the SDF turned Hamza over to a "neutral security party." By then, some 25 had been killed, over 100 injured, and hundreds of families displaced as fighting tore through their neighborhoods. The SDF is said to be a "former" Islamist militia now integrated into the GNU's "official" security forces. (Arab News, Libya Herald)

EU-Tunisia migration deal amid rights abuses

Amnesty International condemned a new migration agreement between the European Union and Tunisia on July 17, saying it makes the EU "complicit in the suffering that will inevitably result" from what represents a "dangerous expansion" of failed policies. The deal, signed the previous day, commits the EU to providing financial support to Tunisia to deter Europe-bound migration. The EU is to provide €105 million (around $120 million) in aid to combat irregular immigration, contingent on approval by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Tunisia: mass expulsion of Black African migrants

Hundreds of Black African migrants were rounded up from the Tunisian port city of Sfax, expelled across the country's border with Libya and left stranded in the desert last week, sparking street protests by the large community of migrants waiting in the city. According to reports, some managed to escape back to the Tunisian side after being confronted by Libyan militiamen, but the fate of all those expelled has still not been accounted for. The expulsions came after mobs attacked Black Africans in Sfax following the funeral of a Tunisian man who was stabbed to death in an altercation with migrants. Tensions have been rising for months in Tunisia, which has seen a sharp increase in people attempting to cross the Mediterranean from its shores this year. (TNH, AfricaNews, Jurist)

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