The Libyan Navy has denied shooting at an Italian fisherman off the country’s coast during an operation against four boats from Sicily.

The navy said in a statement on Sunday that four Italian fishing boats were spotted on May 6 about 48 k) off the coast of Khoms city, some 120 km east of the capital Tripoli, reports Xinhua news agency.

A Libyan Coast Guard vessel went to the location and issued orders to the Italian boats to be inspected, but they did not respond, the statement said.

One of the Italian boats was captured and inspected in the presence of an Italian navy vessel and was then released after the crew signed a pledge not to fish in the area, the statement said.

It added that a member of the Italian boat’s crew was injured “when he hit one of the windows of the boat”.

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio condemned the Coast Guard’s actions but also warned against crossing into Libyan waters.

“We have been advising against going there not just for months but for 10 years,” he said.

Salvatore Quinci, mayor of the fishing port of Mazaro del Vallo in southwestern Sicily, said members of the Coast Guard shot at the fisherman’s boat, the Italian news agency Agi reported.

–IANS

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