NATO announced on Friday that they had intercepted a number of boats belonging to the Gadhafi regime attempting to lay anti-ship mines outside of the Misrata harbor. The move is the latest in an escalating battle for the key western city.
NATO condemned the move, saying it violated an international law which requires governments to alert shipping companies about the “general locations” of mines to avoid accidents. NATO is removing the mines.
But the port is still being contested, and not just on the ground. The Gadhafi forces have also announced a blockade of Misrata by sea, saying that they were concerned that the boats entering the rebel-held city were carrying wepaons.
The move, oddly, comes just one week after the Gadhafi government agreed to allow a UN humanitarian mission into the city. Ships have been used to transport humanitarian goods into the city, mostly food and medical supplies.