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February 22, 2016

Italy to allow armed US drones to fly out of Sicily air base

The Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has reportedly granted permission to fly US drones out of Sicily air base for attacks on Islamic State in Libya and other countries in northern Africa.

The Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has reportedly granted permission to fly US drones out of Sicily air base for attacks on ISIS in Libya and other countries in northern Africa.

The agreement follows a year-long discussion between the two countries and will allow the US to expand its anti-ISIS missions, reported the Guardian.

However, the agreement does not guarantee freedom to the US to use the base in Sicily without restrictions.

The agreement requires the US Government to secure permissions from the Italian Government prior to conducting defensive strikes using drones based at the Sigonella naval air station in Sicily.

"The agreement does not guarantee freedom to the US to use the base in Sicily without restrictions."

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has denied any direct involvement in any operations against Libya, reported the publication.

Earlier this year, the US DoD was reported to be considering plans to start a new military intelligence operation in Libya against the ISIS terrorist organisation, with the move expected to include air strikes against ISIS, as well as special forces operations.

Libya has been a potential target for ISIS due to its oil fields and the federal government’s new strategy to cut ISIS supply chains and financial sources.

The US recently conducted an airstrike in Libya that allegedly killed Abu Nabil, a senior ISIS leader in the region.

The US has additionally revealed plans to strengthen military capabilities and strongholds in North African countries, including Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara, in a bid to stop ISIS from growing in the region.

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