Italy weighs military action against Daesh

ROME: Italy is considering taking part in possible military intervention to combat Daesh in Libya, the Rome newspaper Il Messaggero reported, quoting an unidentified participant at a meeting led by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
The Rome meeting dedicated to Libya on Tuesday discussed for the first time the option of military intervention to combat Daesh in the north African country, the newspaper said.
Such action could be launched without a request from a government of national unity which has yet to be created, the Messaggero said.
It said United Nations backing could be sought, and that intervention could involve members of the informal group known as the “Quint” — the US, France, Germany, Britain and Italy — in contact with Russia.
The newspaper said military action was only a hypothesis for now. It quoted a participant as saying that if Daesh continued to spread in Libya, the international community would have to consider an anti-terrorism campaign because national security would be at stake. Renzi’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the Messaggero report.
Italy, because of its proximity and as Libya’s former colonial power, is on the front line of Europe’s response to the chaos there. Italian oil producer Eni SpA is the biggest investor in Libya.
Participants at the meeting included Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Defense Minister Robert Pinotti and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, according to a statement from Renzi’s office on Tuesday.
European leaders are tentatively planning to send peacekeeping troops to back up a future government, which would follow a power-sharing arrangement struck in December to create a government of national unity.
Italy said on Tuesday it was treating 15 Libyan police officers injured in a Jan.7 truck bombing that has been claimed by the Daesh group.
The attack on a police training centre in Zliten, a coastal city about 170km east of Tripoli, killed 50 people and injured over a hundred.
Italy offered medical help for 15 of the most seriously injured in line with a request from Prime Minister-designate Fayez Al Sarraj, the foreign ministry in Rome said.
The injured men were collected by an Italian airforce transporter on Monday and taken to Celio military hospital in central Rome.
Two of the men were immediately admitted to an intensive care unit.
Libya has had rival administrations since August 2014, when a militia overran Tripoli and forced the internationally recognised government to relocate to the east of the country.

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