Home > Uncategorized > U.S. Moves NATO Troops To Sicily For Libyan Intervention: Italian Foreign Minister

U.S. Moves NATO Troops To Sicily For Libyan Intervention: Italian Foreign Minister

International Mediterranean News Service
May 15, 2013

Bonino confirms 200 NATO troops in Sicily
US forces near in case of escalating violence in Libya

Rome: Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino on Wednesday confirmed that only 200 American NATO troops were being moved to Sicily to be ready for rapid deployment if any new attacks occur in Libya.

“It is taking place in accordance with bilateral agreements (with the US),” Bonino told a joint session of the House and Senate foreign commissions. Earlier reports said 500 soliders were being transferred from Spain to the Sigonella NATO Base. Sigonella, which is southwest of Catania, is a major NATO base used by the US navy and air force as well as the Italian air force. On Monday up to 15 people were killed when a car bomb exploded outside a hospital in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi.

The country has shown increasing signs of turmoil since strongman Muammar Gaddafi was removed from power and killed by rebels in 2011.

Last week three police stations were bombed in Benghazi, causing no casualties.

A car bomb exploded outside the French embassy last month in the capital Tripoli, wounding several residents and two French guards.

Last September, the American diplomatic facility in Benghazi was attacked by gunmen, leading to the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other consular officials.

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Stars and Stripes
May 15, 2013

Marine rapid reaction unit moved to Italy amid escalating crisis in Libya
By John Vandiver

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Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force

STUTTGART, Germany: Just weeks after arriving in Spain, a “small element” from a new 550-Marine-strong rapid reaction force has repositioned to southern Italy amid deteriorating security conditions in nearby Libya, where there have been a series of recent evacuations by western diplomats, defense officials said Wednesday.

“The unit, which is temporarily deployed to Sigonella, is aimed at providing a quick response in the region if required,” said Eileen Lainez, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

Naval Station Sigonella already serves as home to a separate Marine Air Ground Task Force, which is focused on a range of training missions across the African continent. While that unit provides a limited crisis response capability, the new Morón, Spain-based task force is focused mainly on crisis response, according to Marine officials.

Pentagon officials did not specify how many had been moved to Italy, but described the team as a “small element.”

The need for such a contingent was underscored in September when the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, came under attack leaving four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. The attack exposed AFRICOM’s lack of crisis-response capability.

The new Marine MAGTF, which includes six MV-22 Ospreys and other aircraft, has the airlift capability to deliver Marines to hotspots across Africa.

“If something happens, you now have an asset you can move very quickly, along with the C-130s, tankers and MV-22s, you can move very quickly to the African continent in response to a crisis,” Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos said last month.

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