US Moving 200 Marines to Sicily for Libya: Italy

"This is a reinforcement for the security of US personnel in Libya or for possible evacuations"

From AFPItaly on Wednesday said the United States was transferring 200 marines and two planes to its base at Sigonella in Sicily to deploy in Libya in case US diplomats come under attack as they did last year.

Speaking in parliament after leftist lawmakers complained they had not been told about the deployment, Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said the transfer was "in accordance with bilateral agreements" between Italy and the United States.

"This is a reinforcement for the security of US personnel in Libya or for possible evacuations," she told parliament, adding that 75 marines would arrive first followed by 125 more as well as two additional military planes. . . .

The Pentagon this week said the US was stationing extra military elements at Sigonella to protect or evacuate diplomats in Libya if necessary, saying they would come from an air base in Spain where 500 marines were recently deployed.

From ABC News RadioDefense Department spokesman George Little confirmed Monday that an element of the U.S. Marine unit in Spain moved over the weekend to Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy.  Little said the unit is still on standby, but the move puts it closer to Libya if suddenly needed in Tripoli.

A unit of about 50 Marines has already been providing security at the embassy in Libya since January. Meanwhile, another unit, an elite response team based in Germany and assigned to AFRICOM, was put on alert last week.  (photo: EPA)

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