Britain rules out sending combat troops to Libya

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 02, 2016 10:20 AM

ROME (Reuters) - Britain does not plan to deploy combat troops in Libya but will instead seek to give strategic and intelligence support to its new government, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Tuesday.

Islamic State forces have attacked Libya's oil infrastructure and established a foothold in the city of Sirte, exploiting a prolonged power vacuum in a country where two rival governments have been battling for supremacy.

"We will certainly want to support the new Libyan government in any practical way we can but I don't envisage that there will be a situation where we need or want to put combat troop boots on the ground," Hammond told reporters in Rome.

"I don't think we are likely to think that putting combat troops on the ground is a helpful contribution - there are plenty of armed men in Libya. What they need is organization, command and control, air-gathered intelligence, strategic organization."

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; writing by Kate Holton; editing by Stephen Addison)