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US to Deploy Combat Drones From Military Base in Sicily to Libya Next Week

© Flickr / Airman Magazine / MQ-9 Reaper
MQ-9 Reaper - Sputnik International
US combat drones will conduct flights from the Sigonella military base in Italy's Sicily to Libya in a week, local media reported Wednesday, citing an agreement concluded between Italy and the United States.

US Predator unmanned drone armed with a missile - Sputnik International
Italian Defense Minister Confirms Allowing US to Launch Drones From Sicily
ROME (Sputnik) — According to the Italian Corriere della Sera newspaper, Italy will "in a timely manner" authorize the use of drones only in defensive operations to protect the local population and allied military forces in the area.

On Tuesday, Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti confirmed that the United States has been given permission to use the facility in Sicily to carry out drone strikes on Daesh jihadist group targets in Libya.

On February 19, a US airstrike targeted a terrorist training camp in the Libyan town of Sabratha. According to the Serbian government, two kidnapped Serbian diplomats, Sladjana Stankovic and Jovica Stepic, were among those killed in the attack.

Libya has been in a state of turmoil since the Arab Spring protests in early 2011 led to a civil war and the overthrow of long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The instability has facilitated the emergence of numerous militant groups in the state, particularly Daesh, which is outlawed in many countries, including the United States and Russia. The militant group has seized a sizable territory around Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte.

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