From the Punic Wars to the Second World War, Italy has a history of seeing military goals along the Libyan coast. Today, Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti suggested that Italy is looking that way again, preparing to lead an invasion of Libya to fight against the ISIS affiliate there.
Interior Minister Angelino Alfano also chimed in, claiming Italy views ISIS as “just south of Rome,” and that the risk of ISIS moving into Italy “could not be discounted,” calling on the UN to endorse a military operation.
Alfano went on to predict that the Vatican, as “the center of Christianity,” was a likely next target for ISIS, after the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya over the weekend.
The ISIS faction in Libya is actually not founded by ISIS, but was rather a separate Islamist group that pledged allegiance to ISIS in late 2014 in an attempt to gain credibility. The move worked, and the group now has influence in several cities across Libya.
The Egyptian military junta, keen at installing a friendly general in Libya, has been attacking ISIS already, and is endorsing Italian calls for an international invasion.