US officials have reported an additional 60 US Marines and four Osprey aircraft deployed to Sigonella, Sicily, to join the force readying for deployment across the Mediterranean to Libya to evacuate US Embassy personnel.
Officials say the troops are on “heightened alert” at the base since yesterday’s attempted coup in Tripoli. Fighters on both sides in Libya are gearing up for a potential civil war.
The US had sent most of the force, some 200 marines, to Sicily late last week, days before the coup happened. At the time they cited non-specific “unrest” as the region for the move.
The troops are all part of a “Crisis Response” task force created after the 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi. The troops are normally stationed elsewhere in Europe, and only move to Sicily when something is happening in Libya or, in this case, a few days beforehand.