Europe

EU: Libya's cities are making millions from people smuggling

FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2016 file photo, migrants, most from Eritrea, jump into the water from a crowded wooden boat as they are helped by members of a nongovernmental organization during a rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea, about 13 miles (20 kilometers) north of Sabratha, Libya. A new EU report accessed by The Associated Press on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, says that Libya’s coastal cities are generating up to 325 million euros ($346 million) in revenue each year from people smuggling. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)

FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2016 file photo, migrants, most from Eritrea, jump into the water from a crowded wooden boat as they are helped by members of a nongovernmental organization during a rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea, about 13 miles (20 kilometers) north of Sabratha, Libya. A new EU report accessed by The Associated Press on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, says that Libya’s coastal cities are generating up to 325 million euros ($346 million) in revenue each year from people smuggling. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)  (The Associated Press)

The head of a European Union military task force in the Mediterranean Sea says Libya's coastal cities are generating up to 325 million euros ($346 million) in revenue each year from people smuggling.

Rear Adm. Enrico Credendino cites the figure in a confidential report assessing the work of Operation Sophia, a naval mission intended to stop the flow of migrants to Europe.

The report, issued to EU member nations Wednesday and obtained by The Associated Press, provides no details on how the figure was calculated. EU officials didn't immediately respond to questions Thursday.

Credendino describes the smuggling as a "major source of income among locals in Libyan coastal cities."

He also says Islamic extremist groups are "financially exploiting" smuggling routes that lead through Africa's Sahel region into Libya.