The Italian secret service is reporting that about 15,000 migrants released from detention in Libya could be on their way to Europe in what is being described as Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s “secret weapon”.

The revelation was made by Giorgio Piccirillo, director of Italy’s secret service, when briefing the Italian Parliament’s security committee on Thursday.

Col Gaddafi is reported to have freed more than 15,000 migrants from the Horn of Africa, Chad and sub-Saharan Africa, who were held in Libyan detention camps.

According to Gen. Piccirillo the Libyan regime’s intention is to send these migrants to Italy by boat from the port city of Zuwarah, which is about 120 kilometres to the west of Tripoli. Zuwarah is one of the ports from where migrant traffickers operated in the past before Italy and Libya signed a cooperation agreement that

Migration could be Col Gaddafi’s “secret weapon” to condition the West, Gen. Piccirillo said.

Italian intelligence has until now excluded the possibility of terrorists infiltrating migrant groups arriving in Italy.

Rough seas over the past two days may have prevented more migrants from leaving Libya by boat but in the past two weeks more than 1,000 have made it to Malta.

Migrants have arrived in large wooden fishing boats and most of them, including women, can uncharacteristically speak English, an indication that those who arrived had established themselves in Libya.

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