Italy to deploy troops, open military hospital in Libya

Italy to deploy troops, open military hospital in Libya
2 min read
12 September, 2016
New military hospital in northwestern Libya will treat GNA fighters wounded in battles against the Islamic State group.
Pro-GNA forces have taken significant casualties in their fight to unseat the IS group [AFP]

Italy is set to open a military hospital in with a deployment of 300 staff and soldiers in Libya, in line with a request from the country's UN-backed government, a government source said on Monday.

Speaking on plans to locate the hospital close to the Misrata Airport, the source told Reuters that it "should be a safe location, but not too far from the battle zone".

The hospital will be staffed by 100 doctors and nurses, who will be protected by 200 Italian soldiers.

As  Libya's Government of National Accord has battled to oust the Islamic State group from their former stronghold of Sirte, extremists have stiffly resisted and fighting is ongoing.

During this time, Italy has received dozens of fighters for medical treatment. 

Without revealing details of when the hospital is due to open, the government source said that the centre will facilitate faster treatment for those wounded in battle.

It is expected that Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti and Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni may reveal further details to Italy's parliament on Tuesday when they discuss "the situation in Libya".  

At present, Italy, France, Britain and the United States have acknowledged the presence of their troops in Libya. This move, however, will be the first overt deployment of troops by a Western nation to the war-torn country.