MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Terrorists from the violent Islamic State militant group plan to set sail for Italy and Malta soon under the guise of migrants, the Libyan information chief for the internationally-recognized government told Italian media.
"In the coming weeks, Italy will experience the arrival not only of poor African immigrants but also of boats carrying Daesh (IS)," Omar Gawari told Italy's ANSA news agency on Tuesday.
Gawari added that the island country of Malta, located on the major migrant route between Libya and Italy's Sicily, could also be targeted for terror attacks.
Italy has been the main destination for thousands of refugees fleeing conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East. The Italian Interior Ministry said, in early 2015, that it estimated the number of asylum seekers arriving to the country by sea in 2014 was four times higher than in previous years.
Libya has been in turmoil since the 2011 ousting of its leader, Muammar Gaddafi. There are two rival governments in Libya, one based in Tobruk and the other in Tripoli. Troops loyal to the internationally-recognized authorities in Tobruk have been struggling to fend off numerous rebel groups, including ISIL-affiliated militants.