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ITALY, Cassino: In a photograph taken and released by the Warrior Affairs Commission (WAC) 07 March 2014, soldiers of the Libyan National Army and trainers from the Italian military study maps during a training exercise at a military base in the town of Cassino, approx. 130km south-east of the Italian capital Rome. As part of an internationally-supported programme to rebuild Libya's armed forces, the Italian military are training former opposition forces who fought to overthrow the former regime of Col. Muammar Gadaffi in 2011. The 14-week course, which began in January and is currently training 340 soldiers from the north African country, will train several thousand personnel from the Libya National Army over the coming months in basic military practise incorporating weapons handling, tactical movement, navigation, cordon and search, as well as physical training, IT and functioning as cohesive, coordinated military units. WAC PHOTO / STUART PRICE.

Eastern Libyan government condemns Italy’s “violation of Libya’s sovereignty”

The Italian parliament on Wednesday approved the increase of Italian troops in Libya, Niger and other countries.

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said earlier that Italy will transfer part of its military units from Iraq and Afghanistan to North Africa to combat illegal immigration and counter terrorism threats.

In September 2016, the Italian government sent a non-combat military mission, which includes about 100 special forces personnel, at the request of the Libyan UN-backed government to Misurata, some 200 km east of the capital Tripoli, to provide protection for the Italian field hospital inside Misurata air base.

However, the Italian decision was slammed as a foreign intervention on the ground by the east-based government t that is allied with the warlord Khalifa Haftar.

“We condemn Italy’s decision to deploy more troops in the city of Misurata,” the National Defense and Security Committee of the Libyan Tobruk-based House of Representatives on Thursday.

The committee said the decision is a clear violation of Libya’s sovereignty by Italy, adding that Italy, hence, admits the presence of its forces, despite its previous denial of any troops on Libyan territory.

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