Rome:Some 5,000 militants with the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group are in Libya, Italy’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
“According to our analyses, there are today around 5,000 Daesh fighters in Libya,” Paolo Gentiloni said, warning that those militants have the capacity to carry out “dangerous incursions” into neighboring countries.
Italy is alarmed by a potential spillover of violence from Libya into its shores as Libya has been in chaos since former dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, was toppled and later killed in 2011. The power vacuum has prompted terrorist groups, including Daesh, to take advantage of this situation.
The Italian foreign minister, who was briefing members of the Italian Senate, said most of the Daesh terrorists in Libya are based in and around Sirte, a port on the Mediterranean facing Italy. Gentiloni said Rome has no special plan for large deployment of troops to Libya.
“The government will not be dragged into a pointless adventure that would be potentially dangerous for our national security,” the Italian foreign minister stated, adding, “Military interventions are not the solution.Libya is six times the size of Italy and has 200,000 armed men between the militias and the army.”
Last week, Italy reportedly sent 50 members of its special forces to join reconnaissance and intelligence operation services in Libya. Military personnel from the United States, Britain and France are also present in Libya.
Rome has also authorized the United States to launch drone strikes in Libya from an airbase in Sicily.
Daesh in Libya has already posed threats to neighboring Tunisia, where officials accused the Takfiri group last week of carrying out an attack on military barracks and police and national guard posts in the border town of Ben Guerdane. Tunis says it has killed dozens of Daesh militants in the wake of the attack.