Prime Minister glad over Italy’s intention to intervene in Libya

Prime Minister welcomes Italy's announcement of possible intervention in Libya

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Italy's Premier Matteo Renzi
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Italy's Premier Matteo Renzi

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has welcomed an announcement by Italy yesterday evening. Italy announced that it would be ready to join a UN-led force to battle "an active terrorist threat" after recent advances by a faction in Libya that has sworn loyalty to the Islamic State.

Taking to Twitter, Muscat said he was glad that Italy is now willing to intervene in Libya under a UN mandate. "Malta will play its part to ensure Mediterranean stability," he said.

Italy has issued a call for Italian nationals to leave Libya after the reported IS advances in the country.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica, reported that Italy is highly concerned about the situation in Libya, only 200 nautic miles away from the country.

According to comments made by Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni during an interview with SkyTg24, the presence of IS in Libya is very “alarming” and it cannot be ignored.

“Libya is a failed state and as such IS could have a golden opportunity there. Italy will work alongside the UN to promote peaceful discussions between the various forces, but should this not be enough, Italy is ready to take action against this threat.”

“We cannot underestimate this threat given the ever-deteriorating situation,” Gentiloni added.

Libyan IS jihadists have formally taken control of the city of Sirte, 500 kilometres east of Tripoli. They have established headquarters in a building within acentral zone of the city, and an IS group has broken into and seized control of Radio Sirte, a radio station of the city. Confirmation of this was shown in some websites that have jihadist ties, where photos showing armed militants within the studios have been posted.

According to the Italian newspaper, following these events, the city is now expected to be declared part of the Caliphate and the radio station is expected to transmit new rules to the people. This would make it the second Libyan city to become a part of the Islamic State, after the recent domination of Derna.

However, Sirte also houses several other terrorist formations and militias, whose reaction is yet unclear.