European Union leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday will consider launching a military operation against Libyan migrant traffickers, a draft statement seen by AFP showed on Wednesday night.

Migrants sit at a centre for illegal migrants in Misrata after their boat was intercepted by the Libyan coast guard

On the eve of the emergency EU summit on migration in Brussels, Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, said the country was “at war” with migrant traffickers, who are responsible for the deaths of as many as 1,000 migrants in the past week alone.

David Cameron and other EU leaders will consider a commitment to “undertake systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers,” the draft statement showed.

A diplomatic source told a news agency that the EU’s 28 member states were widely mobilised to approve the statement’s wording, reflecting a growing willingness to launch an operation to fight the traffickers.

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