By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 15 February 2015:
Italian diplomats and remaining nationals led by Ambassador Giuseppe Buccino Grimaldi quit Tripoli today amid mounting . . .[restrict]concerns about security and that they might become targets for Islamic State (IS) fighters.
As many as 150 Italians are said to have left on a chartered Maltese catamaran. Most of the Italian community had already left Libya. The San Gwann, which has been used in several other evacuations from Libya, left just after midday and was expected to make a stopover in Malta this evening before heading on to Sicily. The catamaran is reported to be being accompanied by two Italian navy vessels.
Fears for the safety of the few remaining Italians in Libya increased after an IS radio station broadcasting from Iraq referred to Italy as a “crusader” state. Its foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni, who on Friday said that Italy could not accept the presence of “an active terrorist threat only a few hours from Italy by boat” and would be willing to join a UN-led force against the militants if the current UN-brokered dialogue failed, was described by IS as the “Minister of Crusading Italy”. It also declared that Italy was joining “the atheist nations” to fight the Islamic State.
The term “atheist nations” is a pun in Arabic for the “United Nations”. [/restrict]