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Italy Would Allow US to Use Air Base for Strikes Against ISIS in Libya

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)

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Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Tuesday that the Italian government is willing to consider allowing the United States to use its Sigonella Military air base in Sicily in order to assist in its battle against ISIS in Sirte.

Gentiloni said the US airstrikes against ISIS which began on Monday, are a “positive” step towards removing ISIS from the region.

Previously, the US has used the Sigonella Air Base with Italy’s permission in February to launch armed drones meant to attack ISIS in Libya. Italy emphasises that it will only allow Sigonella Air Base to be used for defensive missions.

The US began its attack on ISIS Monday after the UN-backed unity Government of National Accord (GNA) sent a request for military support in combating ISIS in Sirte.

A source from the Italian government said that should the US request the Sigonella military Air Base it would not need approval from parliment to be granted.

Robin Mack, a spokeswoman for the US Africa Command, refused to give any information regarding the US Strikes or where they originated from.

“Ninety percent of the migrants that arrive in Italy come from Libya and that is why we are so interested in the stabilization of the country, beyond the terrorist threat,” said Gentiloni.

Since 2014 over 400,000 people have been smuggled to Italy by boat from North Africa.

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