A vessel bearing the Libyan flag fired at a boat carrying 110 people in the Mediterranean on Friday afternoon, according to NGO Alarm Phone.
The attack happened in Malta’s search and rescue (SAR) zone west of Greek island Crete, the NGO said, warning that the lives of those on board were in danger.
“A group alerted Alarm Phone to report that they are threatened by gunfire from an unknown small vessel carrying the Libyan flag,” the organisation said in an X (formerly Twitter) post.
The boat carrying the 110 people had departed from Lebanon’s border region close to Syria, a spokesperson for Alarm Phone said on Friday afternoon.
“There are apparently around 40 children on board… they left from Lebanon trying to reach Italy,” he said.
“They also report they were shot at by a Libyan vessel. Apparently, one person is also injured due to that,” the spokesperson said, adding the boat had reportedly repeatedly called for help without success.
Alarm Phone was in contact with the boat and had alerted authorities, he said.
It later said the boat reported being followed by the Libyan vessel was attempting to reach Greece. The Greek authorities had been informed, the NGO said.
Alarm Phone said on Saturday that it tried throughout the night to re-establish contact to the boat in distress but was not successful, adding that authorities in Greece and Malta say that they have no information regarding this boat.
“How can 110 people simply disappear?” Alarm Phone wondered.