Gibraltar Accuses Spain Of 'gross Sovereignty Breach' Over Customs Incident
Umer Jamshaid Published February 04, 2023 | 12:00 AM
Gibraltar on Friday accused Spain of a "gross violation of British sovereignty" after an incident on one of its beaches involving Spanish customs agents who were attacked by smugglers, during which shots were fired
Madrid, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 3rd Feb, 2023 ) :Gibraltar on Friday accused Spain of a "gross violation of British sovereignty" after an incident on one of its beaches involving Spanish customs agents who were attacked by smugglers, during which shots were fired.
"The evidence surrounding this incident discloses a gross violation of British sovereignty and, potentially, the most serious and dangerous incident for many years," said Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
The incident took place early on Thursday when a small Spanish customs vessel lost power as it was pursuing suspected tobacco smugglers off the Gibraltar coastline, a source from Spain's tax agency which is in charge of customs told AFP.
After the choppy seas pushed their vessel to the shore, the two officers on board were surrounded by a group of people and pelted with rocks, some of them weighing over three kilos (6.5 Pounds), the source added.
The officers then fired "shots into the water to try to drive away" the people throwing rocks, a tax office source told AFP, speaking on condition that he not be identified.
One customs officer suffered a broken nose, the other fractured bones in his face and will need surgery, he added.
Videos circulating on social media appear to show several shots being fired during the incident, although it was not clear who fired them.
"Should it be confirmed that Spanish officials discharged their weapons in Gibraltar, such action would be a very serious breach of the law," Picardo added.
He called the incident "reckless and dangerous, especially in an area of dense civilian population, given the proximity of a residential estate in the area".
The governments of Gibraltar and the United Kingdom consider that the events "will require careful consideration as to the nature and level of diplomatic response," Picardo added.
Gibraltar police and army officers used metal detectors to search for bullet casings on the beach, images broadcast on Gibraltar tv showed.
A tiny British enclave at Spain's southern tip, Gibraltar has long been a source of tension between Madrid and London.
Although Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in 1713, but Madrid has long wanted it back, a thorny dispute that has for decades involved pressure on the frontier.
Tensions peaked in 1969 when the regime of dictator Francisco Franco closed the border, which did not fully reopen until 1985.