Italy seizes Chinese drones bound for Libya in violation of international arms embargo

Italy seizes Chinese drones bound for Libya in violation of international arms embargo
Photo: Italian authorities seize Chinese attack drones at Port of Gioia Tauro in Calabria / Source: Italian government

Italian customs officials announced on Tuesday that they intercepted and seized two Chinese military drones bound for Libya at a port in the southern Italian city of Calabria.

According to Reuters, Italian officials discovered six containers holding drone parts hidden among other containers of wind turbine blades, suggesting an attempt to disguise the shipment's true nature.

Officials said the drones were seized due to the shipment violating the international arms embargo against Libya.

While officials did not specify the date of the seizure, Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper reported last month that it occurred on June 18th, following a tip-off from U.S. intelligence services.

The drones reportedly departed from the southern Chinese port of Yantian and were headed for Benghazi, controlled by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Libya remains deeply divided, with two governments: the U.N.-recognized administration based in Tripoli and the Benghazi-based government controlling much of the eastern part of the country. Recently, reports have emerged of Russian troops increasingly arming Haftar’s Libyan National Army as Russia and the West vie for influence in the region.

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