Italy would consider US request to use base in Libya strikes

AP News
Posted: Aug 02, 2016 7:33 AM

ROME (AP) — Italy's foreign minister says his government will evaluate any U.S. request to allow use of a Sicilian air base in the campaign of airstrikes against an Islamic State stronghold in Libya.

Paolo Gentiloni said in comments on state television Tuesday that use of the Sigonella base would be considered "if requested" and Parliament informed of any decision.

He described as "positive" the airstrikes against IS militants in the Libyan city of Sirte which began Monday.

In February, Italy agreed to let armed U.S. drones take off from Sigonella but only to defend U.S. forces targeting IS extremists. Italy has stressed it won't let Sigonella be used for offensive purposes.

Italy has insisted Libya must request any anti-IS airstrikes, which Libya's U.N.-brokered unity government did in the case of Sirte.